City Manager Receives Vote of No Confidence
Fillmore City Manager Yvonne Quiring faced surprise employee vote of no confidence at Tuesday’s special council meeting. In the very unusual agenda, former Mayor Scott Lee read the demand for council redress of grievances.
By Gazette Staff Writer — Wednesday, September 29th, 2010
Fillmore City Manager Yvonne Quiring
There was a shake up at City Hall on Tuesday that only a few had expected. The City Council had scheduled the annual evaluation of both City Manager and City Attorney to take place during a closed session of the Fillmore City council on September 28th at 5pm. Another joint meeting was scheduled later that evening at 7pm with Fillmore Unified School District at Fillmore High School cafeteria. But when an unexpected bombshell was presented at the beginning of the 5pm session, the closed meeting was canceled and the meeting remained open.
It went on to state that the employees are being micromanaged, belittled, intimidated, given unclear direction, harassed, fear retaliation for informing Council of the current status of their working environment and that her contradictory management style consist of speaking kindly before a group of employees, then holding closed door meetings wherein staff is unfairly berated bringing the morale of the entire City Hall to a now intolerable low.
Above: Former Fillmore Mayor Scott Lee's reading of the letter. Below: The text of the letter:
This unexpected reading left the Council with little time left to address the scheduled evaluations, so they were postponed until later, giving the Council the needed time to discuss this new information.
The City Council then adjourned and proceeded to join the Fillmore Unified School District for their joint 7pm meeting at the high school cafeteria. All Fillmore City Council Members and all Fillmore School Board members were in attendance with the exception of School Board Member De La Piedra.
About 35 people attended the joint meeting which began with honoring the nonprofit Child Development Resources (CDR). Mayor Patti Walker presented a proclamation recognizing CDR 30th anniversary celebration and service to the community. CDR Board Member Frank Millar accepted it on their behalf. Millar then went on to announced CDR’s third annual “Celebrate the Child Event” to be held on Sunday October 10th 11:00 am to 4:00 pm at the historic Camarillo Ranch and invited everyone to attend. During the event attendees will enjoy a variety of delicious multicultural foods and participate in child-friendly hands-on activities. Log onto WWW.CDRV.org for more information.
Next up was the public comment time with new running track being the topic of discussion. Many who spoke voiced their desire to have the track opened up to the public and year round use. Fillmore resident Joan Archer brought to the Board and Council’s attention that the citizens of Fillmore had access to the old track and that she didn’t recall disclosure of the restriction in using the newly built track prior to the vote on the bond issue that ultimately resulted in taxpayers dollars paying for the new track.
Archer told the Council that youth fitness programs and facilities are abundant in the City but adult fitness isn’t and could be improved by the use of the track. She went on to say the track is a safe venue to promote public health and fitness, and rather than using it to promote just the youth health and fitness the track could be a combination of city school and volunteer resources. Archer ended her comments with “I believe that the City Council and School Board constitute a small group of thoughtful, committed people who can find a more effective resolution of this issue than has been found thus far.”
A representative of Fillmore Youth Condors Cross Country spoke of the desire for his group to use the new track. The Condors are a non-profit club comprised of young runner’s ages 5 to 16. All are members of the Southern California Youth Track & Field Conference with a goal this year to qualify to run at the AAU Junior Olympic Championships in Orlando, Florida.
Maribella Hernandez and Manuela Twitodell, both members of a runners club, expressed their desire to extend the use of the track to the citizens of Fillmore, adding that because the track is all-weather it could be opened in the winter and would be of such value to those dedicated to running. Twitodell stated the use of the track, “Gives a wonderful profile to the city.”
Council Member Brooks stated he is “…pushing for the public to have as much use as possible” and Council Member Washburn agreed replying, “I hope we can get as much use as possible.” The School Board went on to state, “The students should come first” and voiced their concern of how many groups might be using the track. The School Board also reminded those in attendance that this is a different situation than using a dirt track and the cost of repair and upkeep is considerably more with this track. Also discussed was the cost of liability if someone should get hurt along with the cost of security. A Fillmore resident rebutted the School Board’s concerns over liability with, “These were the same concerns talked about with the other parks in town. We cannot let this prevent us from moving forward; this is no greater liability than a skatepark.”
It was suggested that the public could have access to the track between 6pm and 10pm, to which the School Board responded that that would have an added cost of lighting the track, especially during the winter when it gets dark earlier. The City Council scheduled a meeting for October 20th to discuss the issue and the future use of the track with members agreeing it would require at least two or three meeting to resolve the issue of the tracks future use.
The pool was also on the agenda and a question of whether the City of Fillmore would have the available funds needed to meet a legal requirement of three trained lifeguards on duty while the pool is open. Closing the pool was a possibility if the needed funds could not be found. Presently the school district is using the pool for 3-one hour classes each week.
The discussion of the November 12th football game between Fillmore and Santa Paula, which marks the 100th football game between the two towns, brought smiles to all those in attendance with many looking forward to the event with great anticipation. Use of the train to bring Santa Paula residents was suggested to alleviate some of the extra parking that will be needed and security was discussed. Other activities were suggested such as honoring the oldest participant of the rival games who was in attendance. This is an event that so many will be looking forward to, so be sure to mark it on your calendar.