By FRANK LEWIS
PDT Staff Writer
The city might be coming full cycle since former Mayor Jane Murray took office in January 2010. The day before she walked into her office for the first time, Community Development Director Daniel Saez resigned. Monday, he was to meet with Portsmouth Mayor David Malone to discuss the possibility of the city contracting with him to again take over that department, if only for a limited time.
During Monday’s City Council meeting, Malone asked for $6,400 to be taken out of the salary ordinance for the community development director to be used for a temporary contract position to do the same work.
Last week, Malone fired Director Rebecca Steele, saying, “All of those state individuals that deal with our grants, she wouldn’t follow up with phone calls. She just wasn’t performing her duty.”
Malone was contacted Monday morning and asked if the rumor that Crystal Weghorst was going to assume the duties of community development director was true.
“No, not at all,” Malone said. “In fact, I met with Dan Saez about 4 o’clock Friday evening, and he is supposed to be coming in today to see if we can work some things out. We’re looking to contract with him for about a couple of months to get everything in order; give us the status on it, and go from there.”
After Saez left the position in January 2010, he filed a lawsuit against Murray and the City of Portsmouth accusing Murray of publishing false and defamatory statements concerning him, specifically that she made comments suggesting, among other things, that Saez was engaged in a criminal enterprise involving the handling of the city’s revolving loan fund. Saez also charged Murray alleged he mismanaged his duties as community development director, and accused him of unspecified charges of mismanagement in the function and implementation of his official duties.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.