A popular topic of Monday night’s Portsmouth City Council meeting was the ongoing situation between Council and Former City Manager Derek Allen.
Item 7f. on the meeting’s agenda was an ordinance authorizing the removal of City Manager Derek Allen from terminated status and that he be placed back as City Manager on paid administrative leave backdate to December 18, 2017 for compensation. After the item was read by council, Jo Ann Aeh moved, the rule requiring an ordinance be read on three separate dates, be suspended. Council voted unanimously and the rule was suspended. Following the suspension, Councilman Kevin E. Johnson made a motion to amend the status of the City Manager from paid administrative leave to suspended with pay. The ordinance was amended, and a motion that the ordinance be passed was made by Johnson. Council voted and the ordinance was passed, placing former City Manager Derek Allen on the status of suspended with pay.
The mediation for the two parties, Council and City Manager Allen, was set for January 20th, at 9 a.m. As stated by Solicitor Haas the mediation will take place in the hopes of resolving the issues between the two parties. However, Haas stated that if a resolution is not reached between the two parties during mediation, a public hearing will be held at a later date.
During the portion of the evening’s meeting set aside for statements or remarks of citizen present in the Council Chambers on items not on the agenda, suspended City Manager Derek Allen addressed council.
“I have been contacted by numerous members of the community, business men, community leaders, to say would you have an open mind to mediation, before that happens I need my public records request honored. I requested on December 20th and December 28th for the documentation that supported these outrageous allegations against me, especially the ones accusing me of criminal misconduct. So, before there is a mediation session and before there’s a public hearing I would like to see those documents so I can refute them, if they exist,” Mr. Allen said.
“I am a person who is very thorough, I document things, and I think you’ve known that for four years. I certainly hope City Council has something behind these allegations. I want my job back, I’m committed to this community, but I’m committed more to clearing my name. I did not do these things, and I will clear my name. In my job as City Manager and my job in other communities I’ve had to put people on paid administrative leave. Paid administrative leave is an action absent of judgement, it does not say the person did what they said they did, but you’re going to remove them from their position while you look into it. Tonight, you went from putting me on paid administrative leave, to suspension,” Allen expressed.
He continued, “Somebody might say ‘Hey they’ve got something there if they’re going to suspend a guy’ so I would like to see the documentation that you used to put together those slanderous comments, especially the ones supporting that I’ve committed criminal activity,” suspended City Manager Derek Allen said.
Following Allen’s statement to Council, Mayor Kalb asked Allen , given his new status of suspended rather than terminated,if he wished to request a public hearing . Allen confirmed, yes, he did wish to request a public hearing from Council at this time.