Tuesday, June 25, 2013
City Manager Bob Francis resigned Monday night, referring to unspecified “difficulty” with Mayor Arthur Babitz and members of the city council, all of whom said they were surprised by the announcement, which came near the end of the regular City Council meeting.
Francis cited a June 7 meeting with council member Laurent Picard in which Picard recommended strongly that Francis look for other work and resign. Francis used his standing report segment of Monday's meeting to announce he will resign effective July 8.
Francis declined comment after the meeting but scheduled a Tuesday morning appointment with a reporter.
On his meeting with Picard, Francis told council, "Laurent was very honest. His concern was that they wanted to terminate me and that I should find work very quickly." He said others with the city also suggested he seek other employment. "I appreciate their honesty, but I also heard from others that the mayor was inclined and supportive of the idea that it is time to terminate me.
"It is very difficult to work under these conditions. I've been upset by it, the staff has been upset, and the inner office has been upset," Francis said. "Because of that, the best alternative is for me to resign ... so I can seek employment where I am appreciated and my potential is recognized.”
Babitz declined to comment on Francis’ announcement, stating that it is now a pending personnel matter for the city.
Council Member Mark Zanmiller and others stated that the city should offer to mediate with Francis and avoid resignation, an option Babitz said he is open to.
Babitz said Francis' announcement was the first he had heard of his intention to resign.
Planning Director Cindy Walbridge presented a letter of support for Francis signed by herself and Fire Chief Devon Wells, Public Works Director Mark Lago and Police Chief Neal Holste.
Wells called Francis “an amazing mentor to me,” in an emotional statement to the council, adding that “no public employee should be treated the way Bob Francis has been treated.”
Picard said in the meeting: "Let me clarify exactly what I said in the meeting (with Francis). I said that there was a growing consensus on council that he wasn't the right man for the job anymore. I did not say it was spearheaded by the mayor and I did not say he ought to find a job quickly. I said he ought to start looking for another job. I did this because of conversations I had that substantiated my concerns in what I said in that meeting.”
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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"
Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge