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Cape Council mulls charter violation accusation

By Staff | Jan 23, 2010

City council could decide on Monday how — or whether — to address an alleged charter violation by District Four council member Chris Chulakes-Leetz.
Chulakes-Leetz met with a handful of city staff members and has been accused of possibly giving them direction, something prohibited in the charter.
Chulakes-Leetz has denied the allegation, saying he did no more than talk, which is not prohibited by the city governing document.
According to city spokeswoman Connie Barron, “We had employees at the golf course express concerns about a meeting they had with Council Member Chulakes-Leetz. (Interim City Manager) Carl Schwing and (Employee Union Rep) Wally Ilczyszyn met individually with the employees on Thursday to hear their concerns. Carl and the City Attorney, Dolores Menendez, then contacted Councilmember Chulakes-Leetz to discuss the employees’ concerns. They then contacted each Council member to apprise them of the issues. It will be up to City Council to determine what, if any, steps they wish to take.”
Reaction on council has so far been mixed.
Mayor John Sullivan said on Friday that he’s received no formal written complaints regarding the alleged incident.
He said he’s not planning to make any move because of that lack of information.
“How can we address something if we don’t know what happened,” Sullivan said. “I’m not going to do anything about it until I see something concrete.”
District 1 Councilman Marty McClain agreed with Sullivan, saying the lack of solid information makes it difficult for him to form an informed opinion.
He said one way to clear up the matter is through a formal investigation, adding that transparency is city council’s obligation to the people.
“The right approach is to clear up the myths on both sides,” McClain said. “It can be done through an investigation.”
District 2 Councilman Pete Brandt feels the entire situation is being blown out of proportion.
“I’m disappointed the union feels they have to do this … I think it’s ridiculous,” Brandt said.
Chulakes-Leetz maintains he did nothing wrong; he was only trying to find ways for the city to save money.
He said he was asked by golf course employees to come out to speak with them, which he did on the employees’ lunch break.
“I have heard no issue from city council because there is no issue,” he said. “I did what I was asked to do, which was meet with employees who wanted to express their point of view. I never gave orders or suggestions.”
Also, city council could also move forward with their city manager search on Monday, choosing to hire an outside search firm to help find a permanent replacement.
Mayor John Sullivan said while he’s hesitant to spend $25,000 on the search, there could be a candidate out there who could save the city that much money every day.
“We would be remiss if we didn’t turn over every stone possible,” he said. “It’s our duty to make sure we get the best candidate possible.”