FAIRMONT – At the start of the Fairmont City Council meeting on Monday evening, council member Britney Kawecki asked to add a discussion of an employee’s staff performance to the agenda.
City attorney Mark Rahrick, who was on the speakerphone, said if council were to meet behind closed doors for discussion it tells him it’s a performance appraisal which meant everyone needed advance notice of what would be discussed and he said it should be held at another meeting.
Mayor Deb Foster told Kawecki she assumed the discussion was about the city administrator – Cathy Reynolds – because it’s the only post they have authority over. Foster asked Kawecki to share why she wants to schedule a performance review.
“I think I can share it, but legally I shouldn’t share it. I think Mark would advise me not to share it ”, Kawecki said.
“The last time we went through this with our last city administrator, there were e-mails exchanged with the city attorney by some council members, but not all council members had information on the dialogue between the council member asking the town prosecutor for information about the town administrator ”, said Foster.
She has since said that they had established a policy that if a city council member or the mayor contacted the city attorney to request an assessment process, this email, as well as the city council’s response and city attorneys, was to be shared with all council members.
Rahrick said he could forward the emails to the rest of the board members.
Foster asked Kawecki what his motion was.
“I had sent an email asking if I could email all boards individually and this was refused. Even if it was sent individually. I was going to share information this way, but I couldn’t do it ”, Kawecki said.
She said she wanted to have a discussion to discuss concerns that she felt the board should be aware of. Foster said they must notify the city attorney that a discussion will take place behind closed doors.
Rahrick said, “If there were to be a discussion that I would describe as a performance appraisal that could lead to any type of discipline, we would follow a procedure whereby we would provide the employee with written notice of the concern to give them the proper opportunity.” respond. “
Foster asked how they let the city administrator know of their concerns if they couldn’t talk about it.
Rahrick said if there are any board members with specific concerns, they should contact him so that a draft opinion can be drafted that will be shared with the employee and all board members.
He said three days notice should be given and board members should be available.
Kawecki has proposed that she wants to hold a special closed-door meeting for a performance review of the city administrator next Thursday.
Randy Lubenow seconded the motion.
Rahrick said there are two parts to the motion. One is to hold it and the second is to program the date. Foster said she wanted the town’s lawyer to be present at the meeting and Rahrick said he was unavailable on Thursday.
Lubenow proposed that the performance review take place behind closed doors at the next board meeting on October 11. Board members Kawecki, Michele Miller and Wayne Hasek voted yes, Bruce Peters voted no and the motion was carried.
During staff / liaison reports, Reynolds said that since the Charter Commission reinstated in June 2020, seven of the 15 members have resigned. She said that there was currently one alternate on the list and two vacancies to be filled, so they had to start accepting candidatures for the Charter Commission.
“Following the Charter Commission, at the last meeting, the rumor that I intend to leave in two years was brought up to the Charter Commission. I want to make it clear to the board and the public that I have not accepted the position with the intention of leaving it in two years. It’s a rumor that someone started and is spreading in the community ”, said Reynolds.
Earlier in the meeting during the public discussion period, Hasek said he was disappointed with what he heard at the last meeting.
“It seems to me that our Charter Commission has failed in its task. Looks like they’re targeting our mayor and city administrator ”, he said. “Some of these people have been attacking city dwellers for a long time.”
Hasek asked if anyone knew why members of the Charter Commission were resigning.
“We received a letter from two of them with their explanations and I think there is certainly a common denominator with those who contacted me”, said Foster.
Foster said if there are people who want to work on what’s in the city’s best interest, they should go to the city’s website and apply to be part of the Charter Commission.