An unusually united city council isn't concerned about incoming city manager Vernon Stoner having been fired from his last job nor the circumstances that might have surrounded it.
The council will continue as planned to review a preliminary contract with Stoner that includes a $120,000 base salary at the Sept. 14 council meeting.
"Oh yeah, I know what happens next. We continue with the process of hiring Mr.
Stoner," said Councilor Bill Huizinga on Friday.
"It's very simple. Those types of job are appointed and, when there's a change, people are asked to resign and they don't because there's other benefits to being forced out," he said.
Stoner began work at the Washington State Insurance Commissioner's Office on April 1, 2008, and was fired effective June 15, 2009.
City Attorney Craig Ritchie said Stoner received a letter from Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler saying he was an at-will employee, was being terminated and wished him well in his future.
"I asked if he filed for unemployment insurance and he did. Kreidler didn't challenge it, which means he fired him without cause.
"I don't think it was a surprise the person who retired from Stoner's position was Kreidler's campaign manager and he got his old job back," Ritchie said.
Huizinga said based upon Stoner's interview and excellent references, they were aware he left his last job.
"One of the references thought so highly of him the person was willing to drive from Vancouver to testify in front of council regarding his qualifications."
Councilor Walt Schubert said Stoner getting fired didn't mean there was anything wrong with him.
"Any person who works for a elected political entity is going to have that, just like our city manager. I support Stoner 100 percent. I have no problems with anything that's been said.
"I feel sorry for Mr. Stoner because he thought coming into a new place and now coming in with a strike against him, he doesn't deserve that," Schubert said.
Councilor Paul McHugh said he if could attend the Sept. 14 council meeting, he would say he doesn't favor revisiting the city manager hiring process.
Councilor Ken Hays said the council was "surprisingly united on this effort" to hire Stoner.
"If we had known, we certainly would have grilled him and got a satisfactory answer because we got a satisfactory answer from the other candidate," he said.
The other candidate was Steve Burkett, former Shoreline city manager, who was fired in January 2006 after four new members were elected to that city council in November 2005.
Councilor Susan Lorenzen agreed with Hays.
"The candidate from Shoreline was fired. It's what happens when you are employed by an elected official.
"As far as I'm concerned, there's nothing to talk about and it's not a story," she said.
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