Haas vindicates Johnson’s actions

By Frank Lewis - [email protected]

Apparently Portsmouth City Solicitor John Haas was not consulted about whether or not it was proper for First Ward Councilman Kevin W. Johnson to get involved with the formation of the Charter Review Committee.

At the Feb. 27 meeting of Portsmouth City Council, Portsmouth Mayor and Fourth Ward Councilman Jim Kalb went on the offensive with Johnson.

“I received an agenda for the Charter Review Committee that was prepared by Councilman Kevin W. Johnson who also asserted himself into the meeting for updates and guidance,” Kalb said. “Councilman Johnson, the city has picked members for that committee who have extensive backgrounds and much experience to follow what is written in the Charter, and nowhere in that Charter provision does it say that you (Kevin W. Johnson) or any member of Council to be a part of that committee, or be involved in the Charter review process. So I’m asking that you cease and desist from asserting yourself into that process.”

The remark prompted Johnson to correspond by email with Haas.

“Just wondering… did Mayor Kalb touch base with you to determine whether, under the Charter, he has the authority to demand that I ‘cease and desist’ in an activity?” Johnson asked. “And I ask of you: am I out of line in helping organize the first meeting of the Charter Review Committee as a follow-up to my having introduced the measure (the same of which I had done for the City Manager follow-up)?”

Haas responded: “I do not see anything wrong with you taking the lead in organizing the first meeting. I was not consulted by Mr. Kalb about any of the issues raised Monday night.”

Kalb not only raised issues about Johnson at that meeting, but he raised several issues with City Manager Derek K. Allen.

By Frank Lewis

[email protected]

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.