Saturday, June 17, 2006

Things are getting pissy in Burns

Foxworth has it easy compared to this guy:

The anger was palpable at the Burns City Council meeting on May 24, which ended with council members voting 3 to 2 in favor of ousting J. David Fine from his position as city manager.

Fine submitted his resignation to the city on May 10, to accept an assistant city manager/city attorney position in Baker City. Fine had said his last day on the job in Burns would be June 10. Evidently, the city council didn't think that was soon enough.

At the May 24 meeting, Councilor Rick Kelley made a motion to have Fine turn his key and credit card into the city that night and then pick up his personal belongings in the morning. The motion came about after the council emerged from an executive session discussing litigation likely to be filed and personnel matters.

Fine then made a statement about why he attended a law training session using city funds, which apparently upset members of the council. He said he went to the one-day session on legal issues regarding employees with disabilities on May 11 because he thought it was pertinent to a proposal approved by the Burns Budget Committee that would reduce the fire chief position to 3/4 time. Because Fire Chief Chris Briels has claimed a disability in the past, Fine thought there could be legal implications.

However, City Attorney Steve Finlayson said Fine should have left legal issues to the city's legal counsel rather than taking it upon himself to go. "It's your job to let the city take the attorney's advice," Finlayson said.

Fine replied that if he had any regard for Finlayson's legal advice, he would have let him handle it. "I am very unhappy with this city," he said.


This thing looks like its been brewing for awhile. I doubt there's be such a vicious pissing match over a one day legal conference.

The story goes on to say that Fine took a job in Baker City--and that someone from the Burns area called Baker City to bitch about Fine. In other words, they tried to undermine him with his new boss.

Sometimes this small town stuff can make big city politics look tame and reasonable by comparison.

(via Wagon Tongues)