By Kathryn Reed
After a marathon closed session Tuesday, it was decided South Lake Tahoe City Manager Nancy Kerry would take some time off.
Kerry told LTN she was planning to take a couple weeks off.
Mayor Wendy David would not say whose choice it was for the time off – the council’s or Kerry’s. This means it is not known if the entire council is in favor of this or a select few who have been gunning for her to leave. None of the other council members would speak with Lake Tahoe News.
“They did their evaluation and there was no reportable action,” Kerry said.
David also said there was no reportable action regarding the evaluation. This, though, contradicts saying Kerry is on paid leave. David said she did not know how long the leave would be.
The irony about the time off is that at Kerry’s June review the council said one of Kerry’s biggest downfalls was that she did not take enough time off. It was at that review that Kerry received a glowing review and salary increase.
The biggest change since then is Councilman Austin Sass and interim City Attorney Nira Doherty targeting Kerry for reasons that have not been publicly disclosed.
David would not speak to the mystery closed session item that was listed as “pending litigation.” Nor would she speak to the mystery woman who was in closed session at the Jan. 23 meeting.
David said the council decided Fire Chief Jeff Meston would be the acting city manager. At this point he will not be receiving any extra pay for the added responsibilities.
“I was called by the mayor and asked on behalf of the City Council to fill the roll,” Meston told Lake Tahoe News.
In the past Meston and Police Chief Brian Uhler have filled in for Kerry when she has been out of town.
“I’ve been told it’s indefinite. I don’t know the definition of indefinite yet. I’m still trying to wrap my head around it,” Meston said.
Feb. 6 marked the second meeting in a row that Kerry’s performance evaluation was on the agenda.
Until now, every council Kerry has worked with has been ebullient about her performance in the more than five years she’s been city manager. This has been during reviews and at council meetings.
Kerry is responsible for saving the city more than $60 million in her short tenure. Forty million of that came in retiree health benefits, $10 million in refinancing debt, about $7 million through redevelopment and then money in other areas.
She has also been asked by cities inside and outside the state to speak about health care reform, having become an expert of sorts. More than once she has been a speaker at the League of Cities conference.
When Kerry took over from Tony O’Rourke, who was known at the hatchet man, she turned the morale around to where people actually like working for the city, services have been restored and the city is in good shape financially.