Due to the behaviors and actions exhibited by Gladstone Councilors Steve Johnson and Kim Sieckmann, I'm supporting the effort to recall them from office.
Last year, Councilors Sieckmann and Johnson persuaded the remainder of City Council to no longer allow any councilor access to the city attorney's bills. This action has prevented members of our City Council, including me, from supervising the city attorney and the city administrator per the City Charter. For more than three years prior to this action, I received a copy of the monthly city attorney's bill in order to monitor the work being done by both our attorney and administrator. The duties of elected city councilors for the citizens of Gladstone include monitoring money paid by and spent on their behalf.
About a year ago a secret interview for a position that had not been posted was conducted by former Mayor Tom Mersereau, Councilors Johnson and Sieckmann, and City Administrator Eric Swanson. Councilor Sieckmann failed to send any follow-up information concerning the interviewee until after this secret interview was complete. It doesn't seem right that Councilor Sieckmann would poll council members regarding their thoughts about the interviewee and then fail to follow up when the actual interview was conducted.
Last summer Councilor Johnson was the city's representative on the Regional Wastewater Treatment Capacity Advisory Committee when he announced, on his own, he was no longer going to be a member of the committee and walked out of the meeting. This occurred after Janicki Bioenergy's Omni Processor (new, unproven, and yet to be Oregon DEQ-approved technology), which Councilor Johnson proposed, was no longer being considered as an option for an upgrade at the Tri-City sewage-treatment plant.
Last September, the Library Board voted unanimously asking the City Council to have "a new liaison assigned who will provide positive support and guidance of combining two boards and two neighboring communities together." They wanted to replace Councilor Johnson as their liaison because he was not being transparent with the City Council, the Library Board or the public. He provided little information to any of them regarding library issues. Councilor Johnson also claimed the Library Board was being "seditious" (taking over the City Council by force) in their actions, which was furthest from the truth.
In December of 2016, Councilors Johnson and Sieckmann with City Administrator Swanson verbally attacked Mayor-elect Tammy Stempel and me while we were in the first-floor conference room and hallway of City Hall. They yelled at us for over five minutes, demanding an explanation for a news article that was posted in this paper. We told them we didn't know what they were talking about, but the screaming continued as Councilor Johnson, Councilor Sieckmann and City Administrator Swanson demanded that we issue a retraction — we were allegedly giving the city a bad name. During this time, Councilor Johnson and City Administrator Swanson told Mayor-elect Stempel, that she was no longer allowed to participate in any city activities, work with staff or request information she would need as she transitioned into being our next mayor. They were so loud that a police sergeant who had heard the yelling and screaming from the police station next door appeared checking to see why there was so much noise.
Gladstone deserves leaders they can respect as professionals — instead of secret meetings and a lack of openness, civility and public transparency. The use of intimidation and bullying are repugnant actions that are unacceptable in public government. Please join me in voting "yes" to recall Councilors Steve Johnson and Kim Sieckmann. Together we can create a city government we are proud of and that works for us.
Neal Reisner is a Gladstone city councilor.