Last night’s Portsmouth City Council meeting took place at the old Portsmouth High School Campus gymnasium located at 1225 Gallia Street Portsmouth at 6 p.m. This was the second meeting to take place at PHS campus, and another meeting in its regular meeting place at the Municipal Court was forced out of council chambers due to the large number of public attendance. Approximately 100 individuals were in attendance at Monday’s meeting, with numerous more tuning in through live feeds.
At 6:05 p.m., just five minutes into the meeting Council Members made a motion to enter executive session to discuss personnel and potential litigation. Council returned from executive session at 6:35 p.m. and a statement on the pending situation regarding the status of former city manager, Derek Allen, was given by City Solicitor John Haas. Haas announced that a special meeting would be held in executive session with the purpose of serving as a mediation between City Council and Derek Allen.
Haas stated, “A former judge, who has professional experience working in mediation, will be the mediator.”
Someone from the audience asked the name of the former judge and Haas replied with Don Cox.
Haas stated the instructions given to the mediator to resolve the existing issues were to come to a conclusion, “however he (Cox) can get the parties to an agreement.”
All six council members will be in one room and the City Manager Derek Allen in a different room during the meditation. Since it will occur as an executive session it will remain private.
“What’s said in mediation stays in mediation,” said Solicitor Haas. Later, Mayor Kalb make a request for the special for 9 a.m. on Saturday, January 20th.
The next item was where attending citizens were allotted time to give statements of remarks on ideas on the scheduled agenda, where nine individuals voiced their opinions on the decision to mediate, and other various items on the agenda.
Councilman Meadows made recommendation to change the language in the legislation recommending removal of City Manager Derek Allen from terminated status and that he be placed back as City Manager on paid administrative leave backdated to December 18, 2017 for compensation. Council adopted the language to state Allen is suspended with pay. The rule to have items read three times was suspended, and the ordinance was passed by council.
Additionally, near the adjournment of Monday’s meeting Mayor Kalb announced that Council had come to an agreement that Kevin E. Johnson would once again serve as Vice President of Council for the next two years.
Citizens were allowed time toward the end to give statements of remarks on ideas not on the scheduled agenda. Derek Allen was among those who addressed council. He stated he had made a public records request and wants it fulfilled prior to the meditation meeting.
Reach: Ivy Potter (740) 353-3101 Extension 1932