Saturday marked the second Special Session meeting held for the purpose of mediation between Portsmouth City Council and suspended City Manager Derek Allen. Although the sessions each lasted several hours and were conducted by Judge Don Cox, who is experienced in professional mediation, the two parties failed to reach an agreement.
The meeting convened at 9:00 am Saturday morning for Special Session and recessed into Executive Session at 9:06 a.m. When council returned from executive session, the motion was made to call another special session on Tuesday, January 30th at 6:30pm. According to City Solictor John Haas, Council will be meeting Tuesday evening to discuss an ordinance that would allow them to hire outside council.
“Council scheduled a special meeting for Tuesday evening to pass an ordinance to permit the hiring of outside counsel to represent Council members, as Council members, not personally,” said Haas. “Since the mediation failed, my office is now conflicted out, in that I cannot represent both parties in probable litigation over Charter, statute and Council rules violations.”
Councilman Kevin E. Johnson was unable to comment on either of the two sessions of mediation, but stated there were no future mediation sessions scheduled at this time.
Prior to the mediation sessions, it was stated that if mediation failed to resolve the existing issues between the two parties that a public hearing would be the next course of action. However, there has been no further mention of the public hearing as of this time.
The Special Session meeting is scheduled to take place on Tuesday evening at 6:30 in regular council chambers. Item 6 on the meeting’s agenda states that a Special Session has been called to entertain legislation to hire an Attorney to represent City Council in upcoming pending litigation.
Reach: Ivy Potter (740) 353-3101 Extension 1932