By Kathryn Reed
South Lake Tahoe City Councilwoman JoAnn Conner has added more grievances to her lawsuit against the city and City Manager Nancy Kerry.
Conner now claims:
· The council violated the open meeting law in September;
· She can’t get things on the agenda in a timely manner;
· Her personal email is being blocked;
· That rules are being created to hurt her personal business.
Who will decide this matter remains unknown. A Placer County judge is tasked with ruling on Conner’s attorney’s request to have El Dorado County Superior Court Judge Steve Bailey dismissed.
Jacqueline Mittelstadt, a one-time attorney for the city, is representing Conner.
Her accusation about the Brown Act violation reads, “In fact, the discussion was not a performance evaluation of the city manager, but rather, was simply a discussion by all present criticizing City Councilmember Conner for a variety of reasons. It is believed that this closed session violated the Brown Act. The discussion included presentation of documents and allegations of evidence against Ms. Conner by both the city manager and members of the City Council.”
This closed session was on Sept. 15. The item to be discussed was Kerry’s performance. Conner along with the other four electeds is Kerry’s boss.
Kerry on Jan. 27 would not comment about the amended motion.
As for getting something on an agenda, a councilmember needs consensus to do so from one colleague. The soonest it would be on the agenda is two meetings later. Staff also has a huge say in the agenda. The Tuesday prior to the meeting the city manager, city clerk, city attorney, mayor and mayor pro tem solidify the agenda.
Conner last fall asked for the parade policy to come before the council. With November, December and January each having one meeting instead of two, the parade policy has not risen to the top level of importance. Conner has a vested interest because she owns an event company that puts on parades.
She is also upset with what she deems a change in policy regarding public safety being part of her parades. If the fire department were to be part of the parade, that would in essence mean an elected official was benefitting from taxpayer resources, which is illegal. Police may provide an escort, as is customary any time safety is an issue.
Conner is also disgruntled with what she believes is a change in policy when it comes to her being able to put on events at city property, most notably the rec center. Last summer the council, which she voted for, agreed to alter some of the permit regulations. Because one of her events is slated to bring in more than 1,000 people it’s necessary to get a special use permit instead of a just renting the facility.
As for the email, this was part of mandate dating back to September where Conner was banned from communicating with staff in any manner without going through the city manager or city attorney.
“People should be shocked and appalled. Today they don’t like what JoAnn is saying and tomorrow it might be you. There is no due process,” Mittelstadt told Lake Tahoe News.