Letter: Brown Act complaint by Hercules Councilwoman Myrna de Vera against Mayor Dan Romero

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Letter: Brown Act complaint by Hercules Councilwoman Myrna de Vera against Mayor Dan Romero Powered By Docstoc

December 20, 2011

City Attorney Patrick Tang
City of Hercules
111 Civic Drive
Hercules, CA 94547

Re: Brown Act Violation – Mayor Selection

Dear Mr. Tang,

To the best of my recollection and knowledge, I am submitting my statement of the events that
transpired which led me to believe there has been a potential violation of the Brown Act by the City
Council members, especially Dan Romero, on the selection of Dan Romero as the new Mayor.

September 21 – During my weekly meeting with Interim City Manager Liz Warmerdam, she shared with
me that John Delgado had told her that he did not wish to serve as Mayor on 2012. She expressed her
fear that Council Member Dan Romero could be the next mayor. I told her that the current Council
procedures indicated that the Vice-Mayor move up to Mayor. If the Vice-Mayor was not ready to take
the position due to personal reasons, I could continue as Mayor since Council Procedures also indicate
that a mayor serves one full year. I suggested that I could continue for six months until the end of fiscal
year or until the end of 2012.

September 23 (estimated date) – Vice Mayor Delgado called me to discuss about the mayor selection for
2012. I said I could continue for 6 months or 1 year since I served only six months. Or he could take over
since he was the Vice-Mayor. He then proposed that the Council return to the rotation as indicated by
the Council Rules of Procedure, that the highest vote getter serve as Mayor on his/her third year and the
second highest on his/her fourth year of service. That left the 2012 year open to the other three Council
Members, William Wilkins, Gerard Boulanger, and Dan Romero. I objected to his suggestion of
appointing either of the three. I told Delgado that I trusted only him to take over the mayoral seat. John
Delgado then proceeded to tell me that he thought Bill Wilkins could be a good candidate for mayor. I
reiterated that I would consider only either I or John as mayor on 2012.

September 28 – At our weekly meeting, Liz Warmerdam and I discussed John Delgado’s wish not to
serve as Mayor next year. Warmerdam said that on her latest conversation with Delgado, she thought
he wanted me to continue as mayor. I disclosed to her what John Delgado had expressed to me on the
September 23 call, his wish to see the return to the rotation and his opinion that Council Member
Wilkins could be a good mayor.

October 3 – Manny, my husband, and I dropped by Vice-Mayor Delgado’s house to pick up his check for
the Library Gala fundraiser. John Delgado then told us that Council Member Wilkins called him that day
to tell him that he did not want to be mayor and that Dan Romero wished to be the next mayor. After
Council Member Wilkins’ call, Dan Romero called John Delgado to tell him that Dan wanted to be the
next mayor. I received the impression that Dan Romero had solicited Bill Wilkin’s support then had
proceeded to solicit Delgado’s support for Romero’s appointment as 2012 mayor. I expressed concern to
Delgado that the three of them were violating the Brown Act with the serial calls.

October 5 – At our weekly meeting, Liz Warmerdam informed me of her previous week’s conversation
with Council Member Wilkins when she relayed to Wilkins that Delgado thought Wilkins would be a
good candidate for mayor. Council Member Wilkins told Ms. Warmerdam that he was not interested in
the position of mayor. I relayed to her what John Delgado had disclosed to Manny and me on October 3:
that Dan Romero had called Delgado to tell him that Romero wanted to be the next mayor.

October 6 – Council Member Wilkins and I attended the Contra Costa Mayor’s Conference in San Pablo. I
asked him to confirm what Liz Warmerdam had relayed to me. He confirmed that he did not plan or
aspire to be the next mayor. I told him he had two months to think about the possibility, just in case he
gets nominated.

October 12 – During the weekly meeting with new City manager Steve Duran and City Attorney Patrick
Tang, I reported to them the possibility of a Brown Act Violation. I even drew a diagram on how the
serial conversations transpired. Attorney Tang said a serial meeting could be between intermediaries,
including staff. He promised to write a memo to the entire council to explain how serial meetings are in
violation of the Brown Act.

October 22 – At the Rotary Fundraiser for the fire victims of Potorfino, Council Member Boulanger asked
me at the Community Center lobby, “Who do you think will be the next mayor?” I replied: “John
Delgado, of course. He is the Vice-Mayor and that means he will be the next mayor.” Then Boulanger
asked, “What about Dan Romero as our next mayor?” I asked him why he would suggest that and he
laughed it off saying he was just kidding. I then proceeded to ask him why he would not consider himself
or Council Member Wilkins. Gerard Boulanger said he did not want to serve as mayor. He also said that
he had talked to Wilkins and Bill Wilkins told him he did not want to be the next mayor. Gerard
Boulanger then told me that he could not support a candidate for mayor who did not want the job. He
believed that Dan Romero may perform better as a mayor rather than a council member.

October 28 (estimated date) – Vice-Mayor Delgado called me to ask if I had given more thought about
who the next mayor will be. I said yes, that I wanted John Delgado to be the next mayor. Delgado then
said that Dan Romero wanted the position so much, that I should just open my mind to the possibility
that Romero could be the next mayor. I told him I was open only to Vice-Mayor Delgado or Council
Member Wilkins, as previously suggested by Delgado. Vice-Mayor Delgado said that if we allow the 3
recall candidates to appoint Dan Romero as mayor on 2012, then the council will be able to return to the
traditional rotation, and that I will be mayor again on 2014. I was upset at his suggestion because the
staff had been stressed by Romero’s interference with their work and had embarrassed them during
Council meetings.. Delgado consoled me with the possibility that I will be mayor twice during my term.
Again, I told Vice-Mayor Delgado that everyone was violating the Brown Act by discussing the issue
through serial conversations, and that I had verbally reported this matter to the city attorney and city

October 30 – Jonathan Cantiller, a Hercules resident and former City staff, approached me and my
husband, Manny after mass in St. Patrick Church, to tell us that Dan Romero had talked to him to tell
him that Romero wanted to be the next mayor. I told Jonathan I already heard through other
intermediaries that Dan Romero wanted to be the next mayor. I was puzzled why Dan Romero would
disclose this matter to Jonathan Cantiller and why Jonathan made sure we knew of Romero’s wish to be

November 26 – Gerard Boulanger e-mailed the entire Council his suggested changes to the Council
Procedures. I called him up to express my objection to his suggestion that the council selects the next

mayor based on self-nomination. I relayed my fear that he and the other council members were laying
the groundwork so that Dan Romero would be appointed to be the mayor by declaring his wish to be
the next mayor. Boulanger said that it would be best if the Council knew who wished to serve as mayor
rather than guessing. He asked me if I wanted to continue on as mayor and I said I could not disclose
that to him. I warned Boulanger that he should not speak to any other council member about the issue
or the Brown Act will be violated.

December 6 – Study Session of Council Procedures – Council Member Boulanger and Dan Romero
insisted that the Council decide how to select the next mayor on December 13 and that self-nomination
would be the best process. Boulanger strongly suggested that a mayor can continue two or three years,
but the majority of the Council members supported the return to the traditional rotation. Delgado
suggested the Robert’s Rules of Orders to guide us on a procedure on how to select the next mayor for
2012 since no one qualified for rotation on that year.

December 7 – John Delgado and I talked about the prior day’s study session. He expressed his
resignation to the idea that the three other council members already had decided that Dan Romero be
the next mayor, and we were helpless to stop the outcome since the three council members formed a
majority of the Council. I assured him that we could not presume the matter had already been decided
by the other three council members. Delgado also said he was surprised at the suggestion by Gerard
Boulanger that a mayor can continue for several years, rather than a rotation method. I told John that I
would nominate him for mayor.

December 13 – Council Meeting for Reorganization of Council. City Attorney Tang explained the
procedure for selecting the next mayor, using the Robert’s Rules of Order. Since John Delgado had been
nominated and appointed as the next Vice-Mayor, I nominated Council Member Bill Wilkins because of
his strong leadership and experience. Council Member Wilkins quickly and graciously declined my
nomination. Gerard Boulanger nominated Dan Romero. I asked for more nominations but there were
none. I announced that since there was only one nomination, Dan Romero was the next mayor by

Dan Romero took out a typed-written sheet of paper and proceeded to read his prepared speech. I
suspected then that he had manipulated the outcome of the selection during the past months by

lobbying the majority of the Council. He seemed confident enough to have a typed prepared speech. It
did not seem plausible that Romero could have known beforehand he would be the next mayor when he
was not even the Vice-Mayor, unless he had solicited support from the other Council Members his bid
for mayor by declaring his wish to be mayor.

December 14 – Vice-Mayor Delgado called me and expressed his suspicion that the three of the council
members had conspired to appoint Dan Romero as the next mayor. I did not discuss with him my intent
to file a formal complaint of a potential Brown Act violation.

Several citizens called to tell me that the appointment of Dan Romero as Mayor seemed to have been
decided beforehand by the council. They questioned why I was not nominated, considering I served for
only 6 months and that I had the most experience, and why John Delgado did not want the
appointment. Tom Lochner published an article in West County Times quoting Don Kuehne’s suspicions
that the council had decided the mayor selection beforehand.

December 15 – I e-mailed City Attorney Tang, City Manager Duran, and cc’d Vice-Mayor Delgado that I
was filing a formal complaint of a potential violation of the Brown Act by Dan Romero for his selection as
mayor. I also requested that the matter be scheduled on the agenda for December 20 meeting. City
Attorney Tang called to tell me he is taking my allegations seriously and wants to approach the matter
carefully. He needed a couple of days to research.

December 18 – After several e-mails to Mr. Tang, I received a phone call from Mr. Tang saying he could
not put the agenda item of the alleged Brown Act violation on the December 20 Meeting. He needed to
take my statement and investigate the other Council Members. He sent an e-mail acknowledgement of
my formal complaint from the City Attorney.

December 19 - Scheduled to meet City Attorney on December 20 to give my statement.

Myrna L. de Vera

Council Member
City of Hercules

Description: Letter: Brown Act complaint by Hercules Councilwoman Myrna de Vera against Mayor Dan Romero