Richmond’s mayor, city council trade resists criticism of mayor – CBS San Francisco

RICHMOND (CBS SF) – A day after Richmond City Council voted to condemn Mayor Tom Butt for criticism of the mayor and city attorney, Butt called the council Wednesday “planning a coup.”

The council voted Tuesday in closed session to approve a “separation agreement” with Mayor Laura Snideman.

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The council also voted 5-1 in a closed-door meeting in which Butt abstained and councilor Nathaniel Bates was opposed to ordering the city attorney to make a decision criticizing Butt for wrongfully disclosing lawyer-client privileged information in his “e-forum” email newsletter. The vote also ordered the city’s attorney to refer the case to the Contra Costa County Grand Jury and the District Attorney’s Office.

In a subsequent ordinary session, the council voted 5-2, with Butt and Bates against, to condemn Butt’s comments in his e-forum, where he has on several occasions degraded both Snideman’s and city attorney Teresa Stricker’s job performance. .

Richmond Mayor Tom Butt poses for a portrait outside Richmond City Hall, California (Harika Maddala / Bay City News)

Butt has claimed that Snideman has, among other things, monitored neglect of routine maintenance of city parks and thwarted development in the city.

“As a city councilor and mayor, I have a duty to be critical, if justified, to the mayor and let her know when and how her actions fall below what I think society expects,” Butt said in his e-mail. forum Wednesday morning. “I have no qualms about using both my position and my (first) amendments to criticize. In fact, the (city) charter demands this, which states that the mayor must be responsible for” giving bourgeois leadership and taking questions to the people. . “

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Butt has publicly quarreled for months with Snideman and Stricker, urging them to resign in June over allegations that they improperly used public funds to investigate whether Butt or his architectural firm, Interactive Resources Inc., received payment from the city. to design potential floor plans for the conversion of the former Richmond Intermodal Transit Center into a Richmond-themed visitor center and department store.

Neither Snideman nor Stricker has publicly accused Butt or Interactive Resources Inc. to receive payment from the city, and Butt has claimed he heard the accusation from at least one city employee.

The council ultimately voted 5-1 at its June 27 meeting, with Butt against, to retain both Snideman and Stricker. Butt has maintained, however, that Snideman, Stricker and the council’s four members of the Richmond Progressive Alliance run the city poorly.

The five councilors who voted to condemn Butt’s comments argued that a formal rejection was still needed to ensure members of the public understand that the council does not share Butt’s views or his method of communicating them.

“This is about protecting the city of Richmond,” said Councilman Demnlus Johnson III. “This is not about attacking the mayor, and if we have to distance ourselves from one of us to protect the city of Richmond, I hope we would all be brave enough to do so.”

Stricker, Butt announced last week in his e-forum, has already resigned and will leave office on January 3rd.

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