Letters to the Editor: Why I am telling my neighbors that Kevin de León must resign from the City Council
I have been a resident of the City of Riverside since 1967, having moved here from Long Beach. Most of my experiences with the Riverside City Council has been positive. I support the City Council majority on a range of issues, including the budget, the school district, city parks and recreational programs.
Most recently, I became aware of events during the January 5, 2015 meeting of the City Council where several City Council-members were discussing a proposed amendment to the City Charter. This amendment would change the process for the City Council’s approval of City Manager Kevin de León’s annual evaluation. It is my understanding that several City Council-members believe that the City Manager is doing a good job and that the City Manager should run through the City Council every year for approval. Instead, the City Manager was discussing with Council-member Scott Phillips the possibility of allowing his City Administrator to run through the City Council at the end of the year for approval. It is my understanding that Council-member Phillips felt that this would save time and money for Mayor Jim Ryan and that the City Council could vote to approve the City Manager’s annual evaluation at the December meeting, just before election day.
I was surprised that Council-member Phillips would so blatantly disregard the position of the majority on the Council with regard to this vote. This vote was taken by majority vote. There was no discussion or debate on the question of this amendment, and the amendment was passed unanimously. It is my understanding that another Council-member (I believe it was Council-member Ed Hernandez) felt that the City Manager should run through the City Council at the end of the year for approval, based on his previous experience and knowledge of City Council governance. I am sure that Council-member Hernandez believes that his City Manager is doing a good job. However, this is the minority position on the Council, and one that is completely unsupported by the majority.
I have worked in the private sector for many years, and I know that companies run their businesses to maximize their profits. Why, then, should a City Manager be allowed to do so as well?