Mayor Renner didn’t want an appeal!

by:  Diane Benjamin

The following is part of an email Tari Renner sent to a constituent concerning the Scott Oglesby  case.  Maybe the Mayor should have said PUBLICLY how he felt.  Judge Foley might not have bowed to public pressure if she knew others agreed with the arbitrator’s decision.

As far as the substance, Scott Oglesby is a friend of mine and supported me in each of my campaigns. The decision to appeal was made the by previous council and mayor.  I pushed to reconsider that decision but I had to be careful not to push too hard so that it didn’t appear that I was just trying to help a friend/supporter.

Last summer, I did redistribute to the entire council the arbitrator’s report and asked everyone to re-read it and reconsider. That still didn’t move the council.  As a matter of common practice in American government at all levels, personnel decisions (unless they involve high profile department heads and scandal or something) are not discussed in public (for all kinds of reasons – you open yourself up to legal challenges suits etc., you may have difficulty hiring qualified people if they think they may be trashed in public, etc.).  Any legal counsel I’ve ever received as an elected official or when I worked for the International City/County Management Association back in the last 1980s made that point crystal clear.

I totally agree that this appeal was an irresponsible waste of money.  But, the council majority at the time buckled to public pressure and pursed the appeal.  My attempt to persuade them otherwise was unsuccessful. (Just FYI, it may be obvious to you that Scott did nothing wrong – and I agree – but the overwhelming public outcry at the time was in the opposite direction and the council responded – inaccurately I believe.)

Consequently, I don’t agree with you that I don’t walk the walk on transparency.  Everything I’ve done as mayor is exactly what I said I’d do during the campaign and I make everything public that I can – sometimes to a fault!  I’ve been criticized over and over again by many in City Hall and on the Council because I make everything public and am crystal clear about everything and my motivations.

If you change your mind, I am always willing to meet with you – or anyone. My door is always open!
Tari Renner

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