The well-researched article in the Nov. 10 Independent by Clara Beard did a great job of reporting the facts:
1. Shohreh Dupuis claimed that council member George Weiss created a toxic work environment and used personal harassment to intimidate.
2. Among the seven complaints was that Weiss “became aggressive, intimidating and agitated. In an angry moment, Weiss displayed anger and pounded his fists on the city manager’s desk.
Fact: The city hired attorney Barbara Raileanu to investigate the facts based on testimony from city employee witnesses. Her report confirmed the allegations to be true.
Bottom line: The city council met in closed session and chose to protect Weiss.
Question: Why did the council take this path, retaining the root problem- while not dealing with the unacceptable behavior of an out-of-control council member?
Mayor Whalen said, “To engage in a lawsuit would have been a huge distraction.”
Conclusion: Weiss is out of control. Why didn’t the council just censure him and attack the real problem as they did with council member Peter Blake? Was it concerns about being re-elected, offending Village Laguna, who Weiss represents, and offending this powerful voting group?
Ann Christoph wrote, “Dupuis’s claim, not the merit of her accusations about George, was the reason for council’s settlement and her leaving.” Christoph further makes the case that George Weiss should be our next mayor.
Tom Osborne also wrote an article in the Independent, “By George, Laguna needs an environmental leader as mayor.”
Perhaps selecting a proven toxic council member to be mayor will only perpetuate more conflict and dysfunction that Mayor Whalen wants to avoid. Weiss was the cause of our original problem. His actions caused the disruption of our city government and a significant expenditure of wasted taxpayer public funds.
The council now wants us to tell them what to look for in the leadership qualities of a new city manager. It may be time for a big dose of introspection and honesty. Personal interests have no place in leadership. A special trust is given to our elected officials to do what is best for the greater good and all residents.
Eric Axel Jensen, Laguna Beach