Council tensions settle as vacancies filled

By Ivy Potter - [email protected]

Based on the events that took place at Monday night’s meeting of the Portsmouth City Council — or, rather, the lack thereof — it would appear the controversy and debate that engulfed council during much of the past three months surrounding the firing of City Manager Derek Allen, and the exclamation point from two weeks ago when Mayor and 4th Ward Councilman Jim Kalb abruptly quit, has finally subsided.

During the council meeting, which took place once again at Shawnee State University in the Sodexo Ballroom, the vacant position of the 4th Ward Council seat left in the wake of former Kalb’s sudden resignation during the Feb. 26 meeting was filled by Jerrold Albrecht in a vote of 4-1, with Sean Dunne casting the lone dissenting vote. Albrecht, who served previously as council vice president, was sworn into his position, and immediately joined council for the reading of legislation.

Kevin E. Johnson was also administered his oath of office as acting mayor, stepping up from his position as vice president, which shall remain empty due to charter protocol.

When given the opportunity to address council, no members of the audience wished to speak critically, which differs greatly from more recent meetings when citizens questioned council’s actions in its operating procedures. Following the tendered resignations of both Allen and Kalb and the events that played out during the previous meeting of council, it would appear tensions between council and the public — at least for the moment — have eased, and is reflected in council’s decision to return to the smaller council chambers venue for its March 24 meeting. Regular council meetings have been hosted in various larger venues outside the council chambers since late December to accommodate anticipated large crowds and abide by Sunshine Laws, which push for an “openness” in government and public access to meetings.

As for the meeting itself Monday, three proposed ordinances received third readings and were approved by council.

By Ivy Potter

[email protected]

Reach Ivy Potter at 740-353-3101 ext. 1932

Reach Ivy Potter at 740-353-3101 ext. 1932