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published on May 6, 2019 - 2:43 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

Mayor Lee Brand issued his first veto Monday since taking office over the acquisition of space in the city manager’s office to be used by the city council.

At the end of April, the city council voted 5-1 to take office space used by the city manager’s office.

Though the 5-1 vote is veto proof, the mayor hopes an agreement can be hashed out. The veto slip signed for 2019-086, entitled “Assigning Office and Parking Space,” was passed by the council on April 25. It displaces city manager professional staff in order to make room for summer interns and storage space.

“I sincerely wish it had not come to this, but the Council has literally backed me and my Administration into a corner.  I know of two meetings between the Councilmembers and my staff where the negotiation consisted of telling my staff that this was a take it or leave it offer,” said Mayor Brand. “That isn’t what I would call a negotiation.  We offered them a number of alternatives and showed them other spaces where they could locate their interns and store whatever they need to store, but they said no, they have to have these spaces where two key members of the City Manager’s team currently work.”

The city’s resolution would force Assistant City Manger Jane Sumpter, the No.2 administrative position in the city, and Deputy City Manager Laura Merill, to be moved from their offices, according to a news release from the mayor. The council’s actions would force the two staff members to move to the opposite side of the building or another floor of city hall.

The Council’s resolution would also force seven staff members who park in the employee parking lot adjacent to city hall to park in a lot much further away in order to accommodate councilmembers’ assistants.

Councilmembers’ chiefs of staff already have assigned parking spaces in the lot.

“I’m vetoing this resolution in the hope that the Council and I can work together to resolve this issue without the need for a public kerfuffle,” Brand said.

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