Casper City Council Considers Appointment During Executive Session
After an uneventful public portion of Casper City Council's special meeting Monday afternoon, Mayor Kenyne Humphrey said members were headed into executive session to appoint a public official or employee.
Humphrey did not refer to a specific person or particular position. But Tanya Johnson, public information officer in the Office of the Mayor, told K2 Radio News on Friday that it's fair to say the executive session will deal with a personnel matter that arose directly from the past two weeks of turmoil within the city and the police department.
Executive session is closed to the public. It was not clear whether council would be addressing the retirement of City Manager V.H. McDonald and the role of Assistant City Manager Liz Becher who, according to a memo from the city, was appointed by council as interim city manager.
In an email released to select members of the media last week, Councilmember Shawn Johnson said Becher's appointment was never brought before full council, and only a handful of council members made the decision to appoint her.
"The city manager's office has absolutely failed us, failed the city and failed the employees," Johnson wrote. "I'm sure we will discuss this further in our executive session on Monday but the other concerns I have should be made public record which is why I chose to write this email and will probably be making a verbal statement at Tuesday's meeting."
Johnson, of course, was referring to the controversy surrounding the Casper Police Department. A survey conducted by Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 6 contained responses from a number of police officers and employees who castigated Wetzel's leadership and policies.
According to the survey's cover letter, officers took their concerns up the chain of command, to no avail. Then, police command staff went to HR staff -- again, with no resolution -- before holding a meeting with McDonald in April 2016.
That meeting, the letter says, yielded no results. Over a year later, according to the FOP, nothing has been done to address the concerns.
"We had a very big issue within the police department for over a year now and NOTHING was being done about it, NOTHING!" Johnson wrote in his email.
"In a city manager form of government, we are supposed to rely on the city manager to take care of issues like this and if he doesn't take care of them to our satisfaction, we have the option of firing him," Johnson continued.
"What if the city manager and his upper level staff not only not do anything about the problem but even conceal it?" the email reads.
"As a council, WE are ultimately responsible for what happens in this city, when issues like this happen, who does the public look to?.....THEY LOOK TO US!" Johnson said.