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A state commission ruled earlier this month that a sitting Plumas County supervisor isn’t breaking any rules by working as a consultant for the city of Portola.
In a Jan. 3 letter, the Fair Political Practices Commission wrote that Supervisor Jon Kennedy’s work for the city doesn’t constitute a violation of the Political Reform Act.
The letter from Gary S. Winuk, chief of the FPPC’s Enforcement Division, was in response to a written complaint filed by Lake Davis resident Trent Saxton.
Saxton asked the state commission to investigate whether Kennedy’s role as a supervisor constituted a “disqualifying conflict of interest under the Political Reform Act.” Saxton argued that Kennedy could use his supervisor position to influence members of the Portola City Council.
Winuk wrote that Saxton’s complaint “alleges activity that has yet to occur.” He added the commission would not be investigating the matter.
Kennedy said he did his homework before accepting the consulting job. He said he sought legal advice to make sure he was in compliance with the Political Reform Act.
“With all the experience that Trent Saxton claims he has in local government affairs and business, you would think he would know better about how we are governed,” Kennedy said.
Saxton, a former city councilman and mayor while in Placerville, said he understands how a city works.
“I’ll put my resumé up against Jon’s any day,” he said. “The letter (from FPPC) just said there hasn’t been evidence of a conflict at this point.”
Kennedy, the supervisor for District 5, entered a professional services agreement with the city Nov. 18, 2013.
The city hired Kennedy as a consultant to help with several jobs until the City Council hired a new full-time city manager.
The city is paying Kennedy $49 per hour for his services. According to the contract, the total amount Kennedy can earn is $5,000.
According to the agreement, Kennedy’s duties include serving as a liaison to the public, ensuring Brown Act compliance, responding to public records requests and helping with economic development.
Kennedy, a certified conflict resolution mediator, also works as an economic development consultant for Lassen County.
“I’m not taking the place of a city manager at all,” Kennedy said in December. “I’m just helping the staff pick up the slack and get the city better prepared for their next city manager.”
Todd Roberts is Portola’s interim city manager. He took over the job after Ian Kaiser resigned Sept. 13, 2013. Kaiser was facing sanctions by the City Council for allegedly violating personnel rules.
It was Roberts who announced Dec. 5, 2013, that Kennedy and the city had entered a professional services agreement.
Portola is conducting a search for a new full-time city manager.
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