Written by John Lindt
Lemoore Councilmember Holly Blair and the City of Lemoore have agreed to settle a long running dispute this week. The legal agreement was approved April 25, settling past city complaints that Blair made repeated negative public statements directed at certain staff members, including the city manager.
Blair was censured by the council last August after repeated incidents, often on display in council chambers.
In turn Blair, filed an anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) suit in March in Kings County Superior Court claiming her free speech rights were being violated even as the city’s costs for litigation over the months added up to more than $100,000.
Now both parties have agreed to resolve the counter measures as Blair has agreed to no longer disparage city employees. The city will pay Blair’s legal fees adding up to $38,000. The agreement says as long as Blair “conforms her behavior” she will be welcome back as a full member of the five-person council and be able to serve on all committees and boards.
The vote on the resolution was 4-to-1, with Councilmember Chad Billingsley voting no. Now the matter heads back to court to be finalized.