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How we got here

Posted

Regarding the Propositions, many people have asked me what is going on at City Hall. The following is my best effort at clearing the fog.

Each one of these events is easily verifiable, in case you are interested in doing so.

• I first heard of converting the positions of Chief of Police, Street Commissioner, and City Clerk from elected employees to regular employees, from the Freeholders. I believe the consensus was that it was appropriate, but the timing wasn’t right.

The next time I recall serious talk about it was shortly before our current City Manager was hired. Jack Smiley, Jon Kidwell and I met with Janice Cain to determine if we were interested in her, and if she was interested in us. At that meeting Jack mentioned that part of our struggle with hiring a good City Manager was the three elected department heads. He outlined his plans for the future, including these Charter changes. Janice indicated that she understood the importance of a City Manager staying out of politics. A City Manager’s job is to manage day-to-day operations.

• April 2017. Janice has been hired. Jack Smiley asks Jon Kidwell, Chris Riffle, Kevin McAuliffe, and Andrea Chism to form an ad hoc committee to help him implement his plans.

• They agreed and met several times over many months. The City Manager was intentionally excluded.

• On at least one occasion, Jack asked Janice to help the committee with its work.

• Janice expressed her determination to avoid participation in a political movement created by elected officials. To this day, Janice has had absolutely no input regarding the content of these Propositions.

• The committee finishes its work and presents the Propositions to Council. We vote unanimously “yes”.

• The City Attorney discovers an error, so we must vote again.

• Again, we vote unanimously, “yes”.

• Soon afterwards, Jack Smiley surprised the entire City Council as a legislative body, by stating publicly his opposition to the Propositions.

• Soon after that, Jack began work on total Charter recall as well. Especially noteworthy at this point, is that currently the mayor has no individual authority. Recall of the Charter would bestow a great deal of power directly and individually with the mayor, rather than with the Council as a legislative body.

Respectfully,

Dwayne E. Martin Councilmember, Ward IV

Vice-Mayor, City of Altus

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