At the beginning of Tuesday evening’s Special Session meeting of Portsmouth City Council, held solely for the purpose of entertaining legislation to hire an attorney to represent city council in upcoming pending litigation, a preliminary injunction was served to council members by City Solictor John Haas on behalf of Derek Allen.
The injunction restored Derek Allen to his position of City Manager for the City of Portsmouth, and enjoined council members from making any changes to the City Manager employment agreement until they comply with Ohio law, city ordinance, and city charter. The injunction also ordered council members to be in compliance with the Open Meetings Act as set forth in the Ohio Revised Code, ordered council to vacate Sam Sutherland from the position of interim City Manager and enjoined them from naming an Acting/Interim/Successor City Manager until the position becomes legally vacant. Solicitor Haas stated that following the failed mediation between council and Allen he found himself in a position of conflict of interest, and filed suit against council on the violation of city charter.
The ordinance, authorizing the employment of Attorney Mark McCown to represent the City Council of the City of Portsmouth, Ohio regarding matters including, but not limited to, employment, discipline and termination of Derek K. Allen as City Manager and to allocate funds to pay for said services at the rate of $250.00 per hour, with a retainer fee of $5,000.00 and an amount in total not to exceed $50,000.00; and further, authorizing the transfer of $50,000.00 from unappropriated monies in the General Fund No. 101 to Legal Fees Fund No. 101.105.5232 had the rule suspended requiring ordinances be read on three separate occasions and was passed by council with a vote of 5 to 1 despite protests from Councilman Kevin E. Johnson and many Portsmouth citizens.
Johnson, who has been in support of Allen since his initial termination on December 18, 2017, called on council to reconsider their decision to seek outside council and questioned the validity of using as much as $50,000 of tax payer money to do so.
Reach: Ivy Potter (740) 353-3101 Extension 1932