Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Brenda Bauer’

mad-men-elisabeth-moss-3_610The dustup over the keeping of minutes by city committees continues. On July 30, City Manager Doug Schulze sent an email to all city committees and commissions, passing on the advice from the city attorney that they are to conduct themselves as if the state Open Public Meetings Act applies to them. Staff will continue to provide the mandated public notice via the city’s website and distribution lists after receipt of an agenda from the committee chairs. Schulze reiterated current city policy on the taking of minutes, asking committee members take the minutes and provide a copy to the city staff for posting on the city website.

At the end of 2010, citizen committees and commissions were advised that, due to budget constraints, the city could not longer provide staff support for the taking of minutes.

Utility Advisory Committee (UAC) Chair Arlene Buetow responded to Schulze in two emails. The first email expressed disappointment that he had not said in his correspondence that this was a new interpretation of state law.

The second contained an ultimatum: either provide staff support for UAC minute-taking or she will cancel the upcoming UAC meeting.

Arlene Buetow’s emailing habits have already been covered here. But on the subject of minutes, there’s something to be said in her defense.

Women know how often eyes turn to them whenever minute-taking comes up at meetings. Men who might be enlightened and wonderful in other parts of their lives, suddenly come down with a Mad Men style sexism when there are secretarial duties at hand.

The UAC has five members: four men and Arlene Buetow. Come on men. Get off your hands and help her out. Here’s a helpful tip from a couple of male former UAC members who did manage to prepare minutes, while fully participating in meetings: (more…)

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Inflammatory emails released by the city pursuant to a Public Records Act request reveal behind-the-scenes strategizing and advocacy among some Utility Advisory Committee (UAC) members, frequent emails about city business from UAC Chair Arlene Buetow to certain council members’ personal email addresses, testy exchanges between Buetow and City Manager Doug Schulze, and scorching criticisms by Buetow of city staff, UAC colleagues and citizens with whom she did not agree.

Buetow assumed the chairmanship of the UAC in March of 2012 and is now running for Bainbridge city council.

Under her leadership, the UAC’s mission has expanded well beyond the scope of the city’s UAC ordinance. She regularly emailed council persons Sarah Blossom, Steven Bonkowski, David Ward and/or Debbi Lester at their personal email addresses, with extensive comments on utility issues. Those four council persons often vote as a bloc on a variety of contested issues. When they were running for council, Ward, Blossom and Bonkowski were critical of the city’s management of utilities. Their candidacies were supported by the Ratepayers Alliance, a group that sued the city in 2009 over utility issues. Sally Adams, secretary of the Ratepayers Alliance, was occasionally included as a recipient of Buetow emails.

Except for routine matters like scheduling and a thank-you note to Anne Blair, Ms. Buetow did not include council persons Bob Scales, Kirsten Hytopoulos or Anne Blair in the emails produced to me.  (more…)

Read Full Post »

Last week the Bainbridge Review reported that former Secretary/Chief Examiner of the Civil Service Commission Kim Hendrickson had kept hundreds of pages of City files in her garage. She returned a large plastic tub full of Civil Service files at the end of March.

Hendrickson responded to the report with comments on blogs and Trippwires, downplaying the importance of the files (saying they were “dated” and “trash”) and striking back at City officials for discussing the incident in executive session and politicizing the story.

So were the files “trash”? (more…)

Read Full Post »

The State Auditor’s office has dismissed a complaint filed against the City by former Civil Service Commission Secretary/Chief Examiner Kim Hendrickson. Her complaint alleged violations of whistleblower laws, open government laws, and Civil Service Commission rules, specifically targeting former City Manager Brenda Bauer and Council member Bob Scales.

“Your concerns regarding the City are outside our audit authority,” wrote Jan Jutte, Director of Legal Affairs for the Auditor’s office.  “Our office has no authority to examine compliance with civil service or local government whistleblower laws.” (more…)

Read Full Post »

Plotting to fire City Manager Brenda Bauer from their first days in office, and accomplishing the deed in their first six weeks, wasn’t radical enough for the new City Council. They had to fire her again last night in front of a crowd of stunned citizens and surly Council majority supporters. Bauer was given twenty-four hours to clear out, and will collect nine months worth of salary and benefits from the City.

By “new City Council,” let me name names, because all Council members are NOT equal in this swath of destruction at City Hall. The wrecking crew is  Debbi Lester, Steven Bonkowski, Dave Ward and Sarah Blossom.

Minority Council members Bob Scales, Anne Blair and Kirsten Hytopoulos walked into the Council meeting from executive session with the air of people who know they have little chance of salvaging the remains of Bainbridge Island’s reputation after a bad month of making the regional news for all the wrong reasons.

Noting that the majority’s action was a complete surprise so they had no prepared response, they labored to express their disgust and helplessness in the face of their colleagues’ behind-the-scenes maneuvering. (more…)

Read Full Post »

From their first days in office, Dave Ward and Steven Bonkowski, along with two-year council veteran Debbi Lester, executed a plan to fire City Manager Brenda Bauer. The plan was developed and acted upon behind closed doors, without lawful authority. All three denied the existence of any such plan when publicly asked by council colleagues.

The timeline:

January 1, 2012 (Sunday)–Newly elected council members Ward, Bonkowski, Sarah Blossom and Anne Blair take office.

January 5 (Thursday)–Ward calls the offices of Inslee Best and speaks with firm partner Rod Kaseguma about Bauer’s Employment Agreement. “Mrs. Johnson” sends an anonymous email to Bauer, telling her she was about to lose her job and should resign rather than wait to be fired. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Yesterday a “Transition Addendum to Employment Agreement” was posted to the City Council’s next meeting agenda. With it, the word is out: City Manager Brenda Bauer’s time with the City of Bainbridge Island is indeed coming to a close. Although the Addendum isn’t effective until the Council votes on Wednesday night, it signals that the Council, which has been meeting in extended, closed Executive sessions over the past several weeks, has reached an agreement with Bauer on the terms of her departure from the City.

The skulking, anonymous Mrs. Johnson of threatening-email fame was correct back in the beginning of January when she sneered that Bauer’s “employment is coming to a close.” She was also right when she wrote “you do have a choice on how you leave.” But Bauer’s choices have turned out to be much better than Mrs. Johnson’s resign-now-or-you’ll-be-sorry taunt.

In fact, judging by the generous terms of Bauer’s leave-taking, she might have had a taunt or two of her own (I’m guessing it was along the lines of “until you find a new manager, you need me more than I need you.”) Under Bauer’s original Employment Agreement, she was entitled to six months’ severance if she was fired without cause (which is narrowly defined in the contract). If she quit, she got nothing. Hence, Mrs. Johnson’s effort to entice her to resign. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »