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Brandt: McClain may have violated city charter

By Staff | May 2, 2011

Councilmember Pete Brandt still feels Marty McClain ruined the burgeoning relationship with Lee County Fleet Maintenance last week and that he may have been in violation of the city’s charter by pursuing information related to the matter.
Brandt said he had reached his “limit” regarding McClain’s comments and that McClain was “meddling” in the process of getting the fire vehicles fixed. He said McClain was pursuing a private vendetta and the matter was one of safety, not politics.
“There’s no political purpose for anything that been done by the administration, we discovered a situation and we sought to solve it,” Brandt said. “Nobody was on a vendetta to find anybody out.”
Councilmember Bill Deile instructed the city attorney to find out what the process is by which to discover if a council member is in violation of the charter.
Deile said he doesn’t expect the city attorney to offer an immediate answer, but added it was worth the investigation
“He issued the challenge,” Deile said of McClain.
McClain stood by his comments from last week and pointed out he actually supported giving the city manager $100,000 to complete the necessary work. He said he was in favor fixing the problem, but wanted accountability and transparency moving forward.
McClain still feels there’s missing information amid the confusion surrounding the fire vehicle repair issue.
“I’ll support anything that has done its due diligence,” McClain said.
City Manager Gary King said he simply wanted the money to fix the vehicles.
King said he never once denigrated employees, pointed fingers or blamed anyone for the disrepair. He said he just wanted to put new management controls in place and to get two of the city’s fleet mechanics up to speed with the necessary emergency vehicle certifications.
“The only thing I asked for was the money to get the trucks fixed,” King said.
Mayor John Sullivan said the trucks could “wipe somebody out” on the street if not operating properly and that it is important to make sure the equipment is safe.
“We’re put up here for public safety,” Sullivan said.
Deile said the wrong approach has been taken regarding the mechanics in the city fleet, and that a stricter hand must be used.
“They have to be punished and disciplined or that action will continue,” Deile said. “This is what gives the city and the government worker a bad name … if you screw up, we’ll move you out the door.”
McClain said he welcomed the challenge to find out if he violated the charter.