Prior to Thanksgiving I wrote a Ninth Ward newsletter that explained the rationale to my budget vote and gave my opinion on the termination of a staff member.
Unfortunately, my original newsletter was denied distribution due to its mention of “personal” matters. However, it is my opinion that my statements due not violate personnel laws, since I do not address the details of the discipline. My statements simply convey my opinion on the way which the administration handled the matter and my ongoing concern with how the rules are applied within the City.
As the Council person entrusted by the residents of the Ninth Ward to advocate their concerns, I am also required to be fully transparent. This includes explaining my vote, celebrating our successes and publicly voicing my concerns. All the points highlighted in the last paragraph of this newsletter are not personal. It is my job to manage the City via the City Manager (according to our form of government), and my opinion on decisions made are not required to be kept confidential; and this should be shared.
I was not elected to take a neutral stand; I was elected because people valued my opinion. In order to keep the confidence of my constituents (and stay true to myself) I will continue to share my opinion at all times. It would be my hope at in this “progressive” City, the elected officials be allowed to use City newsletters to communicate with residents, even when those communications contain opinions not shared by others.
Earlier this year the Mayor published two newsletters calling for the County Sheriff to investigate a leak and accused the Council of violating the law. Though I disagreed with those statements, I respect that as an elected official he has both the right and responsibility to address the residents and share his opinion. As we move forward. I am trying to remain hopeful that all elected lawmakers are afforded the same respect.
Ms. Fleming is Alderman of the Ninth Ward
What Was Omitted From the Ninth Ward Newsletter
“”Lastly, I want to address the current personnel matter that has been in the news. I am in disagreement with the determination that the Youth & Young Adult Manager should be fired for the stated allegations. Since joining Council, I have voiced many concerns around fairness of the rules and staff treatment (perceived or real), and this incident highlights both. I have spoken to the Interim City Manager and asked that the manager be reinstated utilizing appropriate human resource policies. In addition, I am proposing that the Council both review our HR Manual in a public meeting as well as establish a standing Council personnel subcommittee to have better oversight and input into our Human Resources process and procedures. I believe we have a lot of opportunity to improve management of personnel, hiring and firing – which will result in more efficient City management and fewer staff related complaints and lawsuits.