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Residents decry lack of public comment at meeting to discuss King’s contract

By Staff | Dec 6, 2011

Just days after council terminated Gary King’s contract, emotions still ran high as residents claimed their rights were stripped when denied public comment during the city manager’s dismissal.

King, who served 18 months as the city’s top executive, had his contract terminated without cause last Friday amid a packed house who decried council’s decision to skip public comment as a board majority deemed the proceedings as administrative in nature.

Resident Russ Moody, who recently served on the city’s charter review board, called the decision vindictive and divisive.

Moody said there was a new voting bloc on the council re-comprised by the voters in November, calling the majority who voted to oust King the “slick six.”

“This council has set the tone for the next two years and is out of favor with the citizens of this city,” he said.

Councilmember Kevin McGrail maintained that King was hired without the benefit of public comment, so it was not out of line to terminate his contract without accepting public comment.

McGrail called it an administrative decision, one that was done in a professional manner.

“I do not believe I was disrespectful to the city manager in any way,” McGrail said.

Friday’s meeting also included Mayor John Sullivan attacking several private citizens who were often critical of King.

Sullivan read into the public record accusations against Darryl Teblum, Nancy Patti and Laurie Taylor, claiming they were part of a set-up to get the city manager fired.

Sullivan said Monday he wasn’t disrespectful to anyone, adding that without the benefit of citizens input city council doesn’t have the direction of the people.

“Without that input, we’ll never be able to run the city the way the citizens want it run,” Sullivan said.

Former mayoral candidate Steve Lovejoy told city council he felt his constitutional rights were violated without public comment.

“Our rights to free speech were stomped on Friday,” he said.

Meanwhile, former council woman Dolores Bertolini said it stressed her to see council members and citizens going at each other. And if the city is to heal and move forward, those differing sides will need to eventually come together.

“We don’t have to go home and live together, but we have to work together and make the city work,” she said.

Councilmember Derrick Donnell said the tone of Friday’s meeting was set by council, which has a duty to set the tone appropriately for upcoming sessions. The public’s mood was and is a reflection of that council direction, he added.

“We do have an image problem it’s embarrassing because it’s true,” Donnell said.

Residents decry lack of public comment at meeting to discuss King’s contract

By Staff | Dec 6, 2011

Just days after council terminated Gary King’s contract, emotions still ran high as residents claimed their rights were stripped when denied public comment during the city manager’s dismissal.

King, who served 18 months as the city’s top executive, had his contract terminated without cause last Friday amid a packed house who decried council’s decision to skip public comment as a board majority deemed the proceedings as administrative in nature.

Resident Russ Moody, who recently served on the city’s charter review board, called the decision vindictive and divisive.

Moody said there was a new voting bloc on the council re-comprised by the voters in November, calling the majority who voted to oust King the “slick six.”

“This council has set the tone for the next two years and is out of favor with the citizens of this city,” he said.

Councilmember Kevin McGrail maintained that King was hired without the benefit of public comment, so it was not out of line to terminate his contract without accepting public comment.

McGrail called it an administrative decision, one that was done in a professional manner.

“I do not believe I was disrespectful to the city manager in any way,” McGrail said.

Friday’s meeting also included Mayor John Sullivan attacking several private citizens who were often critical of King.

Sullivan read into the public record accusations against Darryl Teblum, Nancy Patti and Laurie Taylor, claiming they were part of a set-up to get the city manager fired.

Sullivan said Monday he wasn’t disrespectful to anyone, adding that without the benefit of citizens input city council doesn’t have the direction of the people.

“Without that input, we’ll never be able to run the city the way the citizens want it run,” Sullivan said.

Former mayoral candidate Steve Lovejoy told city council he felt his constitutional rights were violated without public comment.

“Our rights to free speech were stomped on Friday,” he said.

Meanwhile, former council woman Dolores Bertolini said it stressed her to see council members and citizens going at each other. And if the city is to heal and move forward, those differing sides will need to eventually come together.

“We don’t have to go home and live together, but we have to work together and make the city work,” she said.

Councilmember Derrick Donnell said the tone of Friday’s meeting was set by council, which has a duty to set the tone appropriately for upcoming sessions. The public’s mood was and is a reflection of that council direction, he added.

“We do have an image problem it’s embarrassing because it’s true,” Donnell said.