Casino Stepping Down as Council Clerk at End of Year

After 26 years as clerk to the City Council, Paul Casino will be stepping down at the end of the year.

“I realize that it seems a long way off but I took in consideration the Summer break, and the time it would take to fill the position would take months,” Casino stated in a letter to the council. “I look forward to continue working with you all in the meantime, and would like to reserve my personal remarks until then.”

The process to hire a replacement for Casino got off to a little bit of a rocky start at Monday night’s council meeting.

Council President Roy Avellaneda advised the council that he and fellow Councilors Calvin Brown and Judith Garcia would make up a special committee to select a new council legal clerk, working alongside the city’s human resource’s department.

But Councilor-At-Large Leo Robinson objected to the establishment of a special committee, noting that it violated the city charter, and asked Avellaneda to withdraw his motion for the special committee. Robinson stated that the charter calls for the council as a whole to select the council clerk.

“The whole body is entitled to be involved in selecting the city clerk and administrative assistants,” said Robinson. “Nowhere in there does it say that the president is able to appoint a committee.”

Avellaneda moved to overrule Robinson’s motion to have the establishment of the subcommittee withdrawn. Ultimately, Robinson’s motion failed to pass.

“Nowhere in the subcommittee does it say that the subcommittee or I will appoint the city clerk,” said Avellaneda. “The last sentence states that this committee plans on working with HR to fine tune the description that was (given) to us by our present city clerk. We will post this and review applicants, and then make a recommendation to the whole committee for appointment.”

Avellaneda said he interpreted the charter as stating that the position has to be appointed by the council as a whole.

“This committee is solely doing the prep work,” said Avellaneda, adding that the process is the same as the one used by the council recently to appoint a new administrative assistant to the council.

“I do not expect either I or these subcommittee members to be alone in this,” said Avellandeda. “Like all subcommittee meetings, whether it is for finance or public works, councilors are welcome to join us and participate if they want to comment on what is going on.”

District 1 Councilor Todd Taylor said he believed hiring a clerk to the council was a little different process from hiring an administrative assistant.

“Where did this process come from where we give a thumbs up or thumbs down and have no vote in the finalists?” Taylor asked.

Avellaneda replied that the subcommittee process is the same that is used by the city manager when making appointments or hiring staff.

“When someone states that the councilors who are not on this subcommittee … cannot participate, cannot be heard and be part of the process prior to a final recommendation, it’s not valid,” he said. “Again, I go back to you and state that any city councilor can attend any city subcommittee meeting and make a point and ask a question.”

Robinson said he still believed that the council president was establishing a process that is in violation of the charter.

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