Thursday, March 8, 2018

City Letter #11

The Big Cover Up

For the last four years we have been reporting that our City Manager and current council have been steadily bankrupting our city. With this group leading our city we are headed for a train wreck on June 1, 2018. This is an important date to remember because the City budget will be presented and show that we are up to $40 million dollars in debt. Due to the bad council decisions RADTIP, Art Museum, Eagle Street, Transit System, Greenways, bike paths, stormwater, New Belgium, lawsuits, salaries and outside consultants.

We also reported that Gary Jackson ($280,000 salary) would be retiring in December which he did. What we did not know was that for the last six months our City Manager, the Mayor and his elitist staff have been covering up the brutal beating that took place in late August 2017 by a few police officers. It is our opinion that after the beating occurred the police chief alerted Gary Jackson knowing how explosive this issue would be. It is also our belief that within a few days Manheimer was also made aware. Jackson knew that he had to preserve his hefty retirement and passed the chief onto Assistant City Manager Dundas ($230,000 salary) knowing this could cost him his job. The Mayor ($55,000 salary) was also in the beginning of the re-election campaign and knew it would damage her chances and her candidates chances in the upcoming election. All the Mayor and Gary wanted was the issue to go away quietly and it was all about keeping their jobs and getting re-elected. After the incident Gary was going to do everything he could to keep his hefty retirement package. If this incident would have come out in August he would have been fired by Council.

The reason that Gary and the Mayor’s story make no sense is that our City government is run strictly by the City Manager. He hires, he fires, he’s over the police and he has complete control over our 190 million dollar budget. The only person he answers to is council and if 4 members vote to fire, you are gone unless you elect to retire on your own. When I served on Council protocol on an event as explosive as this would have been that the police chief would call Gary first and make him aware. She knew full well if she had not done this she would have been immediately fired. Next Gary would have immediately alerted the City Attorney Robin Currin. Then he would have called the Mayor. The Mayor would have then called for a special closed session for council on personnel matters. The matter would have been discussed in closed session and Jackson and Currin would then have advised council which legal direction they should take and when they should alert media and the community. Gary and the Mayor are trying to say the chief went to Dundas, the Assistant City Manager. There is no way that Dundas, newly placed on the job a few months as assistant city manager would not have told Jackson. We feel this was a massive coverup to protect jobs and get re-elected (and if not, then this was complete gross negligence and mismanagement). And when Gary moves far away the Mayor was going to blame the beating and the high deficit all on him.

Dundas says that when he heard about it he went to City Attorney Currin’s office and reported it. By the way Curren ($230,000 salary) was brought to Asheville by Mayor Manheimer. With Currin and Manheimer being such good friends it’s hard to believe she didn’t tell her friend the Mayor. Then you may ask where was Cathy Ball, Assistant City Manager #2 ($220,000 salary). Do you really think the public believes that these people didn’t know especially with Gary’s reputation of being a micro-manager.

There is no doubt that this was a massive cover up and we feel that the City Manager, Dundas, Cathy Ball, Robin Curren and the police chief and the City Mayor should all be fired. If we the voters are fouled accepting this political hogwash then shame on us. It’s time to clean our house.

Chris Peterson


LASTFIRSTPOSITIONSALARY (pre2017 Increase)Salary (after FY2017-18 Increase)Est'd FY2017-18 Fringe BenefitsTOTAL FY2017-18 COMPENSATION
JACKSON,GARYCity Manager190,452.78195,214.0065,153.00260,367.00
CURRIN,ROBINCity Attorney177,700.14182,142.0058,809.00240,951.00
BALL,CATHYAssistant City Manager165,099.05169,226.0049,952.00219,178.00
HOOPER,TAMARAPolice Chief160,463.75164,475.0047,104.00211,579.00
ROWE,MARGARETHuman Resources Director – started Jan 4, 2017137,500.00140,937.0041,941.00182,878.00
DUNDAS,JADEInterim Assistant City Manager134,582.50164,226.0049,552.00219,178.00
WHITEHORN,BARBARAFinance Director129,654.71132,896.0041,638.00174,534.00
FELDMAN,JONATHANChief Information Officer127,576.51130,765.0043,522.00174,287.00
PUTNAM,KENNETHTransportation Director126,224.15129,379.0035,772.00165,151.00
BURNETTE,SCOTTFire Chief121,050.82124,077.0030,164.00154,241.00
POWERS,SAMUELComm & Econ Dev Director118,481.59121,433.0033,387.00154,820.00
BAUMSTARK,JAMESDeputy Police Chief113,877.50116,724.0047,583.00164,307.00
SHULER,GREGORYPublic Works Director112,276.44115,083.0043,109.00158,192.00
AYERS,JAMESGeneral Services Director111,807.00114,602.0033,518.00148,120.00
WOOD,WADEDeputy Police Chief110,428.79116,724.0039,445.00156,169.00
SIMMONS,RODERICKParks & Rec Director110,272.11113,028.0050,353.00163,381.00
OKOLICHANY,TODDPlanning & Urban Design Director108,701.25111,418.0042,425.00153,843.00
WHITLOCK,KELLYDeputy Attorney102,489.75105,052.0027,659.00132,711.00
BUDZINSKI,CHRISTOPHERDeputy Fire Chief98,695.63101,163.0026,474.00127,637.00
MELTON,DAVIDWater Resources – Assistant Director98,348.75100,807.0030,246.00131,053.00

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