Kelby sworn in, as Dunsmuir councilor, attorney Hicks resigns position

Skye Kinkade

Dick Kelby was sworn in as a city councilor at the beginning of Monday afternoon’s special meeting, and David Hicks’ resignation became effective after councilors approved a Request For Proposals for a new City Attorney.

Hicks submitted his resignation on June 2, effective the day RFPs could be accepted, explained City Manager Brenda Bains.

The council voted 4-0 to approve the RFP, with Mayor Dave Keisler, Vice Mayor Scott Welch, and councilors Ed Steele and Dick Kelby voting yes. Councilor Tim Padula was not at the meeting.

RFPs went out after the meeting and will be due Thursday July 3, at 4 p.m. On July 8, a coffee will be held, during which attorney candidates can meet the council and city staff, followed by public interviews.

Hiring of the new city attorney will be done in public session, said Bains.

“I think the city wants and deserves that,” she said.

From the audience, recalled councilor Leslie Wilde said she believes it is “unnecessary” and “offensive” that the council is going through this hiring process when she believes they have already decided to select Mount Shasta attorney Bob Winston.

Wilde said the same thing happened in January 2010, when the council had already decided to appoint Cherie DuPertuis as a councilor, though they went through a long interview process.

She said it is the council’s right to select whoever they want to represent them as attorney and they should just hire who they want.

Mario Rubino, a former councilor who was recalled in 2010 and a member of the council when DuPertuis was appointed, said there was never an agreement to appoint a specific candidate ahead of time, and the interview process was legitimate.

Bains told the council that Winston is not interested in attorney services for the City of Dunsmuir.

“The city has been a spectacle,” she said.

Former city manager Alan Harvey said the public process is important and people have the right to have input on the hiring of a city attorney.

Bruce Deutsch said the council has the responsibility to do the will of the people, and he believes Hicks would not have been hired if the public’s wishes were considered.

Maralee Wofford said an attorney’s qualifications are the most important thing, and where he or she lives shouldn’t be a consideration.

Carol LaVarde said she hopes gossip, rumors, and backstabbing will stop.

Linda Gnesa pointed out that Hicks offered to go through the hiring process, but three days later he was appointed without any interviews.

When it came time for the council to speak, Welch told Hicks, “I appreciate the good work you’ve done under these circumstances.”

Welch said he didn’t know Hicks before his hire, but at the time was certain Dunsmuir needed a local attorney.

“The process Mr. Hicks offered to submit himself to (for the) hiring process would have been much more appropriate,” Welch said. “I’m encouraged that people have come out and made it so clear what their interest is.”

Keisler thanked Hicks for his work and suggested that he submit an RFP.

Welch asked if there are any “trailing matters” that might require representation until the city can find a new attorney.

“There is the matter of the lawsuit,” said Bains, referring to a suit brought by David Fabbrini that alleges civil rights violations for canceling council meetings, thereby not allowing him to speak during public comment. “I myself am being sued, along with the mayor and the city. SCORE is picking up that lawsuit,” Bains said.

At the end of the meeting, Keisler asked Bains, “Before I adjourn this meeting, I just want to ask, did Mr. Hicks submit a bill today?” He asked the amount of the bill.

“I will be showing the city council, but I believe that our legal expenses from this latest contract have doubled what our budget was for the year,” Bains replied.

Next meeting

The council will meet next for a regular meeting this Thursday, June 19, at 6 p.m. at the Community Building, 4835 Dunsmuir Avenue.