Questions, We Have Questions
The abrupt departure of City manager Lea Dunn after 19 years with the Town leaves many unanswered questions about how it came about. Like a stereotypical used car salesman, at the 4/1 coffee, the Mayor danced around several questions that left more confusion than provided answers.
Some of his answers were downright incredible such as:
The Mayor said he didn’t know why she resigned.
The Mayor said her resignation was sent to the city attorney on March 20. The Council didn’t know anything about it until their Executive Session on March 24.
The Mayor said Mrs. Dunn defined the terms of the severance package.
About the only accurate statement the Mayor made at the coffee was that the Council acted illegally in voting to accept her resignation on March 24. While he did not explain it to the group, there was no posted agenda item in regular session to accept her resignation so a vote was illegal. They had to post a special meeting 72 hours in advance so the earliest they could meet to, lawfully, accept her resignation was 1:15 p.m. on Saturday, March 28, which they did.
He did not address these questions:
1. Was there a performance review of her work by the Council that led to her resignation? (Answer: An agenda item on March 10 was an executive session regarding the annual performance review of the city manager. There is a formal structure for this process that, evidently, was not followed. Ms. Dunn had asked that her performance review be made in a public forum at a Council meeting which didn’t happen.)
2. Why was the wording of the March 24 agenda item listed simply as a “personnel” issue? (Answer: Since the Mayor approves the wording of each agenda item, maybe the real reason was to hide the planned Council’s action from the voters. But, according to the Mayor, he didn’t know of her resignation till the Council meeting that evening.)
3. Why was Councilmember Chris DeFrancisco excluded from the two manager search committees? (Answer: The Mayor said he was not appointed because he was leaving the Council. But, the Mayor appointed Blake Clemens, who also leaves office in May, to the committees but, then, Blake supports the Mayor. The real reason is that Chris was not appointed is that the Mayor wants to direct the work of the committees via the Council members whose votes he controls).
4. If she resigned on her own, why was there a severance package paid? (Answer: Her contract called for a year’s salary and benefits if the Council fired her.)