City clerk placed on paid leave

DOWNEY - Despite objections from former mayors Dianne Boggs and Anne Bayer, the City Council voted unanimously last Thursday to remove Kathleen Midstokke as city clerk, placing her on paid administrative leave until her pending retirement this June.During the special meeting, the Council gave no formal reason for Midstokke's sudden departure, but quickly approved a six-month separation agreement with Midstokke, who will retire on June 30, 2011. Upon retirement, she will receive a lump sum payment of $9,792, equal to one month's pay, and accrued benefits. Emerging from closed session following the vote, the Council named former chief deputy city clerk Joyce Doyle as interim city clerk. Doyle retired from the city last September after working in the city clerk's office for more than 20 years. Over the next several months, city officials will begin reviewing candidates to replace Midstokke who was hired in 2001. Doyle says she has no plans of seeking the position and returned simply on an interim basis. Prior to the vote on Thursday night, Boggs questioned the Council's decision. "I'm concerned at the appearance of this," she said. "I receive phone calls from residents who are worried. The Council is changing and we see it coming...we're starting to look like Bell." Bayer echoed Boggs' nervous sentiments, surprised at the Council's abrupt timing. "I've known Kathleen the last eight years and there was never anything written in her portfolio that was bad," said Bayer who was termed out of office last November. "I don't understand what the big rush is and why you had to call a big meeting...this is not a good way to do business." Along with the city manager and city attorney, the city clerk reports directly to the City Council and can be released, if agreed upon by the council members. Midstokke could not be reached for comment regarding the separation agreement.

********** Published: February 03, 2011 - Volume 9 - Issue 42