The city of Washington is seemingly having a communication problem that is pitting the mayor and members of council against each other.
The communication issue came to a head at council’s meeting Thursday night over two specific issues – one dealing with the promotion of police Officer Kirk Stinner, the other involving the city’s information technology and computers systems coordinator, Lynn Galluze.
Councilman Joe Manning and Terry Faust voted against promoting Stinner to lieutenant, but not because they questioned his ability or expertise. Instead, the councilmen believed they should have been apprised of the promotion prior to the council meeting.
“I do not question his ability, but there has been no discussion on this recommendation,” said Manning, prior to council’s vote.
Mayor Brenda Davis responded to the councilmen’s concerns by explaining that for the past 25 years, the Fraternal Order of Police promotion board has met and made promotion recommendations.
“The promotion board would meet and then come to the chief and mayor to follow through,” she stated. “Mr. Manning is just playing politics.”
Davis said that she believes Manning wanted to promote another officer on the force. She also accused Manning of “playing with the good old boys club.”
Manning denied all of Davis’ accusations and said he just felt he should have known about the move prior to being called to vote on it. “I don’t even know what she means by that,” he said.
The position of lieutenant became open with the retirement of veteran officer John Yancosek.
Meanwhile, Davis is blaming poor communication by Galluze for the decision to revise her job description. The action was again opposed by Manning and Faust.
Late last year, before the new administration took over, council approved a new two-year contract with Galluze at a cost of $182,000. Galluze’s salary, which does not include benefits, consists of a base of about $72,000 for her technology work. Another $20,000 is for her other assignments, including grant writing.
Under the new job description, Galluze will no longer be responsible for grants. All grant writing will now be handled by the city’s other contractor, Rich Cleveland, the mayor explained.
“It’s a communications problem,” Davis said. “She’s choosing not to inform all of council and the mayor” about what she’s working on.
Galluze responded, “I don’t believe there is a communications problem. I’ve always been open to answering anyone’s questions.”
Manning, who is the councilman who oversees Galluze’s work, said he doesn’t understand Davis’ comments.
“There’s no communications problems” with Galluze, he said. “She does a great job” and has been doing a great job for the city for more than 30 years, Manning added.