1. Prior to the meeting, the city hosted a special reception to honor outgoing commissioners Dan McNally and Sarah Chenoweth and to welcome newly elected commissioners Cheryl Brooks and Larry Fields, as well as Commissioner Chuck Munsell, who was re-elected last month. Once the meeting was underway, the newly elected and re-elected commissioners were sworn in. Dawn McNay, previously board president, was sworn in as the new mayor. Munsell was sworn in as the new board president.
2. Among other comments in the public input period of the meeting, former commissioner Chenoweth said that during her election campaign, Commissioner Brooks had “accused the City of Pittsburg of not being transparent and city commissioners of rubber stamping” and “implied that there were backdoor deals and that city staff picked and chose favorites as to which businesses received loan money and what individuals were put in charge of various projects and programs.”
In her very first meeting as a commissioner, however, Brooks was “engaging in some of those very same unethical behaviors for which you so vocally and falsely accused the City of Pittsburg,” Chenoweth said, noting that Brooks’s husband Jeff Brooks was applying for positions on the Economic Development Advisory Committee (EDAC) and Building Code Board of Appeals/Building Trade Review Board.
Later in the meeting, Commissioner Brooks asked City Attorney Henry Menghini to clarify whether her husband serving as part of either organization would be an illegal conflict of interest, and Menghini said it would not. Jeff Brooks was subsequently appointed to the position of master plumber on the Building Code Board of Appeals/Building Trade Review Board. He was not appointed to the EDAC.
After the commissioners went into executive session towards the end of the meeting, Chenoweth spoke to the Morning Sun, saying she “wanted to clarify that just because something is legal does not mean that it’s ethical, and nepotism — appointing a spouse to a board over which you oversee — is highly unethical, though it may remain legal.”
3. In addition to Jeff Brooks, Bill Warlop was appointed to the Building Code Board of Appeals/Building Trade Review Board. Chris Goddard, Sydney Anselmi, Denise Grasso, Denise Loy were appointed to the Downtown Advisory Board. Rick Baden, John Clark and Rebecca Light were appointed to the EDAC. Adaven Scronce, Chuckie Hessong, Alicia Shoemaker, Stephanie Watts were appointed to the Farmers Market Advisory Board. Brad Hanson and Elizabeth Hayes were appointed to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.
4. The commission discussed an ordinance, S-1066, relating to city employees’ and officers’ salaries and compensation. After Commissioner Brooks asked to table the discussion item and Commissioner Munsell raised concerns about the ordinance, the commission approved the ordinance on a 3 to 2 vote, with Brooks and Munsell voting against approving it.
5. The commissioners approved the cancellation of their regularly scheduled meeting on Dec. 24 and discussed meeting procedures and various issues brought up during the public input period before going into an executive session to discuss City Manager Daron Hall’s employment terms and conditions. No action was taken in the executive session.