Another bombshell exploded Monday morning in the ongoing dispute between Portsmouth City Council and City Manager Derek Allen, when Allen abruptly tendered his resignation, putting the decision to accept the resignation in the hands of the city council at Monday night’s meeting.
Allen’s surprise decision and the council’s subsequent action maybe the culmination of a months-long feud that has drawn battle lines in many camps across the city.
Rumors of tension between the city manager and council members were confirmed on Dec. 18, 2017, when council made a surprise decision to terminate. Sam Sutherland, director of public utilities, was named interim city manager while council searched for a permanent replacement.
But after facing backlash from the community and Allen for allegedly going against the proper firing procedure according to City Charter, both council and the terminated city manager agreed to undergo mediation sessions in order to find a resolution between the two parties. After the two mediation sessions failed to reach an agreement, City Solicitor John Haas sided with Allen, and served council members with an injunction which reinstated Allen to his former position as city manager on Jan. 30. The injunction also enjoined council members from making any changes to the city manager employment agreement until they comply with Ohio law, city ordinance and the city charter. Following the failed mediation between council and Allen, Haas found himself in a position of conflict of interest, and filed suit against council on the violation of city charter.
On Feb. 12, council voted to repeal Ordinance 2018-01 regarding certain actions taken concerning the city manager (effectively determining that actions on Dec. 18 never occurred), and another authorizing and directing an inquiry into the conduct of the city manager.
The investigation committee looking into the conduct of the city manager was formed on Feb. 14 and met Feb. 21 and Feb. 24, with another meeting scheduled for today.
The vote by council to accept or reject the resignation was not known by press time. See coverage of the meeting online at www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com.
Reach Ivy Potter at 740-353-3101 ext. 1932