Letter from Charlie Long to Hercules City Council by BayAreaNewsGroup


									Charles A. Long
2030 Manzanita Dr.
Oakland, CA 94611
Fax 510-350-7320

December 17, 2010

Mayor Ed Balico
Vice Mayor Joanne Ward
Councilmember John Delgado
Councilmember Myra DeVera
Councilmember Don Kuehne
City of Hercules
111 Civic Dr.
Hercules, CA 94547

Dear Mayor and Council:

I was surprised to receive a letter today signed by former Mayor Kris Valsted dated
December 14, 2010, providing me notice that the Council terminated my employment for
cause on December 7, 2010. I was further surprised the Council’s reason for termination
as “insubordinate failure to carry out its instructions.” Attached, for benefit of the new
members of the Council, is a copy of that letter.

This action was not announced after the closed session of December 7, 2010. My
attorney, Betsy Strauss contacted both the City Clerk and the City Attorney after the
December 7 meeting and asked what action the Council took. The City Clerk said that no
action had been taken and the item would be on the agenda on December 14; the City
Attorney failed to return her phone call.

Nor was this action announced after the Council’s closed session of December 14, 2010.

During the closed session on December 7, the Council did not indicate to me that it was
terminating my employment for cause. In fact, as you recall, as I left the meeting several
council members shook my hand and thanked me for the service to the City.

I also have no information concerning what actions constituted my “insubordinate failure
to carry out instructions”. During the closed session of December 7, I had planned to
address several topics concerning the urgency of the City’s financial condition during my
performance review. However, the Council members upon entering the closed session
appeared to have already decided to terminate my employment.

Prior to the council meeting, on December 2, I did meet with Councilmember Balico to
discuss the need for the special meeting of December 7. He angrily told me not to
publicly release infonnation on the City's financial condition, saying that such
infonnation was hurting his business relationships in marketing his waste-to energy
recovery equipment to other cities. He also said that such infonnatioh undennined his
advancement in several regional agencies. I indicated that the City's financial condition
warranted the release. I will also say that his personal direction to me does not constitute
direction by the Council.

In fact, when I contacted members of the fonner Council to schedule the December 7
Special Meeting, I specifically said that this meeting was necessary to layout the City's
financial situation publicly and to get Council authorization to engage the services of an
outside consultant to prepare a detailed report on the situation so that it would be
available for public distribution in early January. This urgency was based on the rate at
which the deficit is accumulating in the General Fund and the need to enable the Council,
including the new council members who were to be seated on December 14, to have a
report from an outside party laying out the full extent ofthe financial situation. While I
was unable to talk directly to Councilmember McDonald to confinn his attendance, I was
infonned by then Mayor Valsted, Councilmember Ward and Councilmember Kuehne
that each believed the meeting to be necessary for the purpose that I described.

The action described in the fonner Mayor's letter was not presented to me during the
closed session. Nor was it announced publicly after the closed session. Nor is it
warranted based on the actual circumstances that occurred. If the Council does not
reverse this decision, I will be forced to take action to enforce the tenns of Paragraph 6B
of my Employment Agreement which requires the City of Hercules to pay me for the
remainder of the Initial Tenn of my contract, that is, through June 30, 20 I I. I expect
such reversal to occur prior to the City's next scheduled payroll day of January 31,2010.

Charies A. Long

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