Let's hear it for our Council! Please, lady and gentlemen, stand up and take a bow. You earned it. You made a tough decision on Friday, but it was the right one. Your courage will make Kingman a better city in the future.
Council was in a rather precarious spot when it was revealed to them last week that City Manager Paul Beecher gave former Economic Director Jeff Weir, on his way out the door, a severance package totalling more than $40,000. The fact that Beecher signed the contract AFTER Council had voted to gut the department's budget, which essentially fired Weir, was a bad move. Not saying anything about the contract two weeks later when Council voted NOT to give Weir a severance - priceless.
Or rather, senseless. But as one of my editors passionately told me Friday, "You can't say Council fired him because of the lawsuit!" No, we can't say that. One heckuva coincidence, though. Just days after Weir sues the city, the Council calls an executive session to discuss Beecher's job performance, at which time he's quickly canned. We heard he was packing up his office as Council met behind closed doors.
We knew that Beecher was on semi-probation after his mishandling of the well sites in Golden Valley and his mishandling of the citizens throughout his time here. So Council's move was a no-brainer. If I was his boss, it would be like, make me look bad once and I can forgive. Do it again, you're gone.
Hopefully, Council will explore why Finance Director Coral Loyd wanted $34,000 to stay in the budget when Council voted to de-fund the Economic Development division. As Beecher's latest e-mail released by the city shows, he had a wonderful relationship with her. I wonder if she knew about the severance contract, and if she did, why she sat quietly with Beecher at the Council meeting when Council members voted NOT to give Weir a severance.
I'd sure want to know.
While I would never condone the city of Kingman fighting a lawsuit that they probably would lose, I'm in agreement with developer Scott Dunton that the city should make Beecher fight for his $250,000 severance. Dunton has been outspoken for months that Beecher was wrong for this city. It turns out, he was right. Makes you wonder how many other things he's been right about - Jim Rhodes, Dave Hawkins, Conley Wolfswinkle.
Now the city can move forward, and maybe, the mayor will quit blaming the Miner for the problems we did not create, and maybe, some of the residents out there who criticize us for aggressively reporting city government will understand why we do it, and why we will continue to do it.
I hope when Beecher leaves, he takes these dang flies with him. They're just vicious this year.