Special session cancelled

By Ivy Potter - [email protected]

The special session meeting of Portsmouth City Council which was set to take place on Thursday at 5:00 p.m. has been cancelled.

In an email sent out from Portsmouth City Clerk Diana Ratliff last Thursday, it was announced that acting Mayor Kevin E. Johnson had called the special session to discuss the City Manager position and that during that meeting council intended to enter into executive session.

The agenda for the special session listed the clerk’s report which held the request and call for a special meeting. After the call to order by Acting Mayor Johnson, invocation, and roll call. Prior to entering into the executive session, statements or remarks of citizens present in Council Chambers were also scheduled to be heard by council.

Monday in another email from City Clerk Diana Ratliff, it was stated that the special session meeting set for Tuesday evening had been cancelled due to a family matter. The reschedule date and time of the special session will be determined at the regular session meeting on Monday, September 24.

With the special session post-poned, yet another factor delays the official announcement of which of the three top applicants for the city manager position will be awarded the job. With the final interviews being conducted last week, the long awaited decision from council between local applicants Sam Sutherland and Robert Ware, and Nathan Burd of Michigan will be pushed back until the special session takes place. In the meantime, Acting City Manager Sam Sutherland will continue carrying out the day to day duties of city manager.

It it yet to be determined how the set back of a potentially crucial step in the hiring process of the city manager will be received by those already contesting the way in which Council has been handling business in relation to the city manager search. Former 1st ward council member Kevin W. Johnson raised questions in a submitted letter to the editor of the qualifications of the applicants, and the top three chosen applicants, while stating the search process has not been conducted with integrity and transparency. In the letter the former council member accused council of conducting discussions in secret executive sessions, pointed out council’s choice to reduce the city manager’s starting salary, and criticized council’s decisions of not using a professional job recruiter or to provide travel expenses for any applicant, among other listed grievances.

By Ivy Potter

[email protected]

Reach: Ivy Potter (740) 353-3101 Extension 1932

Reach: Ivy Potter (740) 353-3101 Extension 1932