Colusa Council 'intends' to fire McClintock
Embattled Colusa City Manager Jan McClintock appears one stop closer to losing her job.
The Colusa City Council, on a 4-1 vote Thursday night, with Councilwoman Donna Critchfield dissenting, took the code-required move to adopt a resolution announcing its intent to terminate McClintock's contract.
The vote came without any comment from the council, and followed a closed session that lasted about 15 minutes.
Landreth said there was no reportable action from the closed session. The only item listed was McClintock's employment status.
McClintock, who did not attend Thursday's meeting, was placed on paid administrative leave Tuesday night.
The council also unanimously approved the appointment of Fire Chief Randy Dunn as acting city manager for at least the next 30 days, then appointed Critchfield and Councilman Tom Reische to an ad hoc committee to begin the recruitment for an interim manager.
Councilwoman Kay Hosmer and Donna Critchfield each wanted to set a 30-day term to the appointment.
"I do have concerns about (it being) the fire season," said Hosmer, adding she also is worried about putting too much on the fire chief for an extended period of time.
"I just feel we are asking someone to do a lot," Hosmer said.
Critchfield believed the council could revisit the issue and extend the appointment if necessary.
But Reische, who made the original motion, believed the appointment should remain open ended, and the council could then end it as needed.
Dunn, who will not receive additional compensation for the extra duties, has filled in for McClintock during brief absences in the past.
The fire chief did not comment on the length of the appointment, but told the council he is already taking steps to organize and prioritize city business.
Dunn met with staff on Wednesday for about an hour. He came away less concerned about the kind of time pressure the city was under for certain issues.
"I kept hearing that we have all these projects ... so I wanted to find out what was our highest priority; what had to be done," Dunn said.
"I have talked to the staff ... and I don't think it is as panicked as it seems to be."
Communicating with the staff was a central issue in the discussion, and even caused its own disagreement among the council members.
Hosmer and Critchfield believe the mayor, and possibly one other council member at various times, should attend the staff meetings so there is a direct, unfiltered link to the council.
Landreth did attend Wednesday's meeting, but has not made it a practice to attend the staff meetings. Critchfield, on the other hand, did when she was mayor.
"I wanted to assure them that we are moving forward as a city," Landreth said.
While conceding he could not stop the council members from attending, Dunn clearly would prefer that they did not go to the staff meetings unless necessary.
"I don't want big brother looking over my shoulder," said Dunn, who argued it was important that he build a trust with the staff on his own.
One of the sharpest criticisms raised about McClintock has been how she has dealt with the staff.
It was raised during Tuesday's meeting, which McClintock did not attend after being placed on administrative leave before it started.
Marie Clark, who represents the mid-management employee association but is not a city employee, told the council the next city manager needs to work with the employee groups better.
"I have tried to work with her since she started, and she does this," said Clark. "She supersedes me instead of working with me."
That comment got a sharp rebuke from Councilwoman Kay Hosmer, who objected to discussing future hires given what was Tuesday a more unsettled situation.
"That is not on the agenda," said Hosmer, who tried to get the city attorney to intervene when Clark's comments continued.
Clark's issue started over what she considered a lack of communication from McClintock over a proposed social media policy the council was considering for how to operate the city's Facebook page.
But not everyone believes McClintock is disagreeable.
Marilyn Kennedy, chairwoman of the Colusa County Film Commission, described McClintock Tuesday night as a good leader for the city.
"I want to say on my behalf, and on behalf of the whole Film Commission, I have worked with Jan McClintock since day one ... (and) she has been extremely helpful for me personally, and everyone on the commission," Kennedy said.
McClintock had presented the city a retirement offer that would take her employment through at least part of November and possibly through the end of the year, but that is clearly off the table.
McClintock does have the right to have a hearing regarding her possible termination, which could happen as early as Aug. 2, but would more likely take place at the next regularly scheduled meeting on Aug. 7, officials said.
McClintock indicated in an email that she had no comment at this time.