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Council members respond to mayor's veto of CAO salary elimination

Now that the mayor has issued a veto on the city council’s decision to eliminate the Chief Administrative Officer Richie McAlister's salary, the council members in support of removing the salary are speaking out about what may come next.

“It’s unfortunate that despite the long list of reasons why we should be moving on with a new CAO, that the mayor either doesn’t realize how important this is, or, for whatever other reason, wants to protect his CAO and maintain the status quo that’s just not working for the city,” said Councilman Weston Lindemann who was one of three council members to push this decision through in Tuesday’s meeting.

Councilwoman Kim Houston, who also voted in favor of removing the position’s salary, says she wants the community to show up for the next council meeting on April 16th. “I would really appreciate those people who feel the same way to come out to the city council meeting, and you may not be able to express it, but, just showing up makes a statement that something needs to be changed,” said Houston.

Both Lindemann and Houston claim they have received enormous feedback from all types of community members and even city employees who don’t wish to be named. “They don’t want the pressure. They don’t want the mistreatment. They don’t want the bullying or the intimidation, and I respect that,” said Houston. “So, at the same time, with having this information over and over, a consistent conversation, it’s just seeing how things are unfolding.” “Well, just from the feedback we’ve had from after that vote was taken at the last meeting, I think there’s going to be a lot of people who show up in support of getting rid of this CAO and moving on. I think it’s going to be hard for the other council members to vote against overriding the veto when they see just how much support there is for this,” said Lindemann.

However, the mayor stands by his veto decision and the performance of McAlister. “Their production as it relates to their performance, you know, those are things that at are the discretion of the mayor. The city council, even if they believe that person isn’t doing a great job or is doing a great job, it’s still up to the mayor to be that person that judges that performance of him or her.”

Lindemann says if the veto does not get overridden that the council may launch their own investigation into the CAO. McAlister said he cannot comment on a legal matter.

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