Consultant recommends Riverside councilors resign
RIVERSIDE (GTNS) —The Riverside City Council received a letter from Snyder and Associates consultant Pat Callahan in their packet for the upcoming city council meeting Monday.
“I have been involved in city government in various capacities for over 39 years,” Callahan said. “The City of Riverside has been, without a doubt, my most challenging project or study.”
Callahan went on to explain why he sent the letter instead of coming to the city council meeting Monday.
“As you recall, I offered to meet with the city council for one last meeting in August to provide you with what I called the ‘ultimate solution,’” Callahan said. “While no actual vote was taken at the July 15 meeting, some council members indicated that they were interested in my attendance at the Aug. 19 meeting. I was later contacted by Kevin [Kiene] and Nate [Kasdorf], who noted while they appreciate my offer, they did not think that there was a need for me to attend the council meeting.”
Callahan said he heard from Riverside Mayor Bill Poch and Councilor Bob Schnieder Jr. as well. He said they both wanted him to attend the meeting on Aug. 19, but since there wasn’t a consensus, Callahan decided to send a letter with his recommendation to the council.
For his “ultimate solution” Callahan suggests that the three city council members elected in 2011 resign.
“The key to whether this plan can be implemented is the resignations of Nate [Kasdorf], Chris [Kirkwood], and Bob [Schneider Jr.], because they still have two years left on their four year terms,” Callahan said.
He suggests the three resign in a staggered process to maintain a quorum. Then a public notice could be published in the paper and appointments could fill the vacancies. Callahan also said all three should be appointed to the council to serve until the Nov. 5 election. This way all of the city council seats and the position of mayor would be up for re-election at the same time.
“In order to maintain a quorum of the remaining council members, the appointment process would be done at two separate meetings,” Callahan said. “The three resignations and appointments would all need to take place no later than Sept. 14, in order for all of the council seats to be on the Nov. 5 ballot.”
Callahan put a tentative timeline of the process of events in his letter to the council members but said the city attorney and county attorney would need to be contacted to review this process.
Councilor Nate Kasdorf was surprised by Callahan’s suggestion.
“I was surprised because who would have thought of that?” Kasdorf asked. “It sounds like a pretty good idea to me.”
I think if we all can agree to it, then let’s do it. This would be a great opportunity for the silent majority that we all keep hearing about to come out and speak up at the November election.”
Kasdorf said his decision to resign would be based on what everyone else says at the meeting on Monday, Aug. 19.
“If everyone’s in agreement and they ask me to resign, then I’ll resign,” Kasdorf said. “Like Callahan said, if I don’t get re-elected, then I don’t get re-elected.”
When asked if he contacted Callahan after the July 15 meeting, Kasdorf said he had. He said he decided to do so after an e-mail was sent to Callahan by Riverside city administrator Rusty Rogerson a couple of weeks ago. Rogerson sent the e-mail to all of the city council members. In the e-mail Kasdorf said it was strictly Rogerson’s opinion at how things were going and Kasdorf said he thought this would contaminate Callahan’s thinking.
Councilor Chris Kirkwood said she was still thinking about what Callahan said in his letter.
“It depends on what Nate, Bob, and I decide,” Kirkwood said. “We’ll have to talk about it and see what we should do.”
She said she thought the process of having three council members resign and then be reappointed until the Nov. 5 election could become very confusing for Riverside residents.
Poch said he agreed with Callahan’s suggestion. He, however, was upset to hear of two council members reaching out to Callahan asking him not to return.
“He said he would come back free of charge in August,” Poch said. “Why shouldn’t we take advantage of it?”
Either way Poch said Callahan’s suggestion would give the voters in Riverside a chance to make another decision in November.
Councilor Bob Schneider Jr. could not be reached for comment. The letter is on Monday’s agenda.