By Karen Glaub
Former Council Chairman Popoff was quoted in the article about City Manager Thompson's firing as saying that he would have liked to have been there to speak if he had known it was going to be discussed. In fact he said that he would have run for council again because "it's just so unjust". Well, how interesting that this is your response after the way you ran the City Council Meeting of January 4th, this year. You advertised an agenda item for discussion of how to proceed in naming city owned facilities and then when the discussion started you allowed Councilor Gibson to make a motion to take action, to name our city hall for E. Glenn Tucker. You then began discussion of the merits of why he deserved this and completed your presentation with a vote by all councilors after a parade of Mr. Tuckers friends and associates on the island, who normally do not attend, but were mysteriously present that night.
There were many islanders who no doubt would have liked to have had notice about this action you took in order to speak about it, but you denied them that right by pushing this through at the end of the meeting. You not only falsely advertised that agenda item, you took action on it even after my husband, Robert Glaub made a hurried trip there to be able to be at least one person to speak against it. He informed you and the whole council that it was wrong for you to take this item from discussion to action without public notice and you continued anyway. He also informed you that many others would have been there to speak if you had advertised that you were going to do what you did. Thus, you had many opportunities at that time to stop your actions and do the right thing, but you did not.
You do not seem to understand that the firing of City Manager Steve Thompson was not a politically motivated move on Chairman Recker's part. Many of us have called for transparency, openness, and accountability from our city government for years. Indeed, this council has publicly stated their intent to provide that to we, the people. If, in order to accomplish that, swift action must be taken at times, then so be it. Many documents have surfaced recently which indicate that our council was taking action on issues without being fully informed and there were some ongoing issues which they said were not aware of at all. With our city's financial future at risk of paying large fines for being involved in some dubious past actions, this council had every right to insist, that they had a "right to know".
I remember the meeting in which City Manager Thompson was told that if he was in doubt about whether to inform them, he was to err on the side of disclosure. He did not do this, but chose to use his own judgment instead. This is incompatible with the intent of this council under Chairman Recker's leadership. Many of the islanders applaud his attempt to provide this for the people. The council members who supported him, erred on the side of their constituents and can be proud of stepping up. There was nothing personal about this. City leaders and staff have to be accountable for their actions and their inactions when it is called for and they choose not to act.
Editor's Note: Ex-councilor Popoff now whines that if only he was there for the city manager's firing … so exactly where was then Councilor Popoff when he knew that asbestos was being dumped and pulverized, and toxic hydrogen sulfide was being dumped into the waterways? Did he ACT then to expose the destruction of the environment and the danger to our health? Better still, the latest version of the EPA correspondence started when then Councilor Popoff was the chairman – what exactly was he doing then? Let's see what he says when he realizes that government sovereign immunity does not apply in these cases. Utterly amazing – "If I only knew" – YOU KNEW – you chose to play along at the whim of the syndicate while feigning concern.