Fillmore’s now former Director of Public Works (City Engineer) Bert Rapp, was covered with honors during what was his final council meeting, Tuesday evening. Rapp resigned his position last month after nearly 20 stellar years on the job. Though Bert remains silent about reasons for his departure, it is widely understood that dealing with the council majority (Patti Walker, Gayle Washburn, Jamey Brooks, and now Brian Sipes) has been frustratingly counter-productive. Added to the continuous disrespect received from these four know-nothing, micro-managing political wanabes was the last straw, a new, obviously incompetent, city manager who has caused unprecedented disruption among the entire city staff. Two letters of no confidence in the new city manager, from city employees, have recently been read aloud to the council. Measures, if any, being taken to resolve this unprecedented situation are being kept secret from the public. In her single year at her previous city manager job, our new manager Yvonne Quiring met the same fate – no confidence, and was relieved of her job.

Long time employees like Bert and City Planner Kevin McSweeney, were denied employment contracts by the council majority. Threats to job retention was the reason given for these contract requests. The council majority deemed an employee work review necessary – though no one was competent to do the review. As the council majority had done previously with former City Manager Roy Payne (another outstanding 20-year employee) hostile and disrespectful statements and a lack of cooperation and support led to Bert’s resignation. The council majority left no doubt that they intended to replace all top employees who had served previous councils. They apparently intended to do this by making working conditions intolerable. Thanks to the organized effort of people like failed former mayor and non-resident Gary Creagle, frenetic blogger Bob Stroh, and other members of the Katzenjammer Klub, the work environment did become intolerable, hostile, and outside job offers became too inviting to resist.

The new council majority has replaced almost all of our most talented and experienced employees, those with the longest tenure, in order to find the money for less experienced, less costly employees and to provide sufficient salary money for an assistant city manager.

Bert received an unprecedented number of awards upon resignation, including rare recognition from the California State Assembly on behalf of our new Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, presented by former Fillmore Mayor Ernie Villegas.
I fear our new Katzenjammer majority on the council is not finished with its purging of the best of our city government employees. They have run city government off the rails and into the swamp. Watch closely as more and more vitally important city issues go unresolved or swept under the carpet. Watch as more government functions go into the dark room of executive sessions.

Thanks, Bert, for 20 years of superb, imaginative, and effective city engineering.

I’m wondering if a $30,000 recall is really too expensive to rid city government of this utterly incompetent, and financially irresponsible new council majority.

Fillmore has sown the wind. The whirlwind is just around the corner.