I write to make you aware of a deceptive undercurrent stirring.
Our City Manager Lehman Walker inherited 30+ years mis-management. He has had a gargantuin job in righting this ship. And it appears prior administration is angered that, in the process, a bright light fell on their malfeasance (You only need to look at the , the independent CPA audit, and the report from the financial consultants).
So they have made a concerted effort to use their membership in a small organization called International City Managers Assocation [ICMA] as a weapon to discredit Mr. Walker. Mr. Walker, although not a city manger at the time, was also a member.
This group pushed to sanction Mr. Walker, but Mr. Walker has lived a stand up life. And so they went fishing and came up with a hand full of private emails talking about budget ideas; talking about Julie Feier’s subordination when she threatened to fire directors if they spoke with me, and responding to a request for his resume. And they noted that Mr. Walker was in the City of Evanston for less than 2 years. For this sum of offenses, they wish to sanction Mr. Walker and take away his membership.
The complainers are a half dozen local city managers. They filed the complaint with the national ICMA and the national ICMA in turn appointed local member city managers as "fact finders!"
It did not matter to the organization that:
- Mr. Walker was leaving his department director position with Evanston’s blessing to accept a bigger responsibility as city manager position.
- The emails were private emails.
- The emails were sent when he was not an employee of the City.
- Mr. Walker accomplished for fiscal year 2013 what Julie Feier said was impossible: Julie Feier: $2 million deficit; cut in City services; attempting to increase taxes; verses Lehman Walker: $400,000 surplus; no cut in City services; no tax increase.
And it did not matter that:
- Mr. Walker did not know the complainers [all local];
- Mr. Walker did not know the fact finders [again all local];
- The complainers, fact finders, Julie Feier and her camp are all friends.
- The complainers, fact finders, Julie Feier and her camp all sit together and regularly meet on local boards, assocations, and like kind groups [Missouri CMA; St. L. Ins. Trust; etc.].
- At least one of the complainers was using his city’s funds to buy alcohol and further he charged his city for more than what he actually paid...and ICMA did not sanction him.
- At least one of the fact finders was arrested for DWI and then a warrant was issued for his arrest for failure to appear in court...and ICMA did not sanction him.
- One of the city managers assocated with this group pled guilty and was convicted of stealing from his city...and the ICMA did not sanction him.
- Julie Feier in writing and in person bad mouthed councilmembers, eg. calling me among other things “evil”, a clear unprofessional act and an act of insubordiation...and the ICMA did not sanction her.
- Julie Feier via email schemed how to circumvent our compensation ordinances to get more in raises for her employee friends...and the ICMA did not sanction her.
- Julie Feier left her positon as assistant city manager after 15 months instead of 24 months...the ICMA did not sanction her.
Historically the level of ICMA sanctions met out to Mr. Walker are reserved for such serious offenses as pedophilia, DWI, stealing, felony convictions.
But in this case, it appears the ICMA very willingly cast aside what is right, became political, and metted out the severest of sanctions to Mr. Walker...for a hand full of private emails and for leaving a postion in less than two years to elevate himself to city manager.
It is my hope you stand up for Mr. Walker. It is my hope you do not let this absurdity distract you! Our City cannot weather the reinstallation of the likes of prior administration.