City clerk questions

Dear Editor:Thank you for raising the question regarding the firing of city clerk Kathleen Midstokke without an explanation to the city's voters. We have been proud of the claimed transparency and fiscal responsibility of our City Council. Sadly, in this instance both attributes are glaringly absent. From time to time we have been graced with a great deal of details of our Council's actions and accomplishments. In this instance we have been treated to nothing but silence. I suggest to our councilmen that city voters are worthy of an honest explanation of such an important and cost significant (under the circumstances) action. The argument that the dismissal of Ms. Midstokke is a "personnel action" does not hold in this instance. A full explanation is in order. The severance agreement, surprising as to its extensive protective provisions, does not preclude an honest explanation of the reasons for the "separation," even though it may be described as a personnel action by the city. We are owed an explanation of the reason for taking the drastic action of terminating a competent city clerk, especially at the additional cost to the city of a half-year's salary with benefits, which would amount in the order of $100,000. -- Harold Tseklenis, Downey

Dear Editor: Call me suspicious. When senior managers suddenly leave a company without good reason, something afoot is usually very wrong. City government is no different. Why is the Downey City Clerk's office suddenly so toxic? It is the keeper of public records. In government, "corrupt" and "political machine" are words that powerfully attract one another as politicians reward themselves and their friends at public expense. Please watch Downey's $30 million rainy day fund. Like bears to honey, corrupt politicians will see it as an irresistible target. We may be surprised at what is called an emergency and who receives the money as the fund is drained. It takes only three council members to make a political machine that can confidently do as it wants after 'neutering' the keeper of public records. -- Gordon Lundene, Downey

********** Published: February 10, 2011 - Volume 9 - Issue 43