FLORENCE – The events leading up to the recent dismissal of former city manager Mike Patterson are slowly unfolding, but citizens are demanding answers to a myriad of unanswered questions.
After a two-hour executive session on August 31, Florence’s city council voted unanimously to terminate Patterson, with immediate effect, and banned him from being on city property.
“The city does not generally comment on employment issues, however, the city can confirm that the city council fired the city manager on August 31, 2021,” the city said in a statement on Friday. “In addition, this matter is subject to investigation and subject to litigation. Therefore, the City has no further comment at this time. “
Florence officials vote to fire city manager Mike Patterson
Florence resident Roger Duncan attended the Mayor’s discussion event Thursday in Florence, where he read a letter compiled by the “Concerned Citizens of Florence”.
Duncan said citizens are concerned about the decisions that have been made – and are being made – regarding Patterson’s dismissal.
“Although there are a lot of rumors that abound, we are requesting factual information from the city regarding this issue as well as supporting documents,” the letter said. “We believe the city should be forthright in its involvement in this file with full transparency about the history and process that took place to get us to where we are today on Mr. Patterson’s file.
This list of questions and letters was put together by a group of Florence citizens, business owners and the general public in the hope that they “can create a future city of Florence seamlessly,” the letter says. . “Hiding things behind closed doors, in executive sessions, and withholding the outcome of meetings only proliferate the potential for corruption and embezzlement. “
The questions that the letter includes in part are:
- We understand that the ongoing lawsuit or claim against the City and Patterson is at least the third of these offenses. Please check the dates and regulations for all offenses involving Patterson and the city.
- “We know that two previous claims before the last incident were covered and paid by CIRSA. How much were the alleged payments and what was the deductible that the city should have paid?
- We understand that the city has changed its insurance for travelers. Will they pay the current alleged claims against the city for this new alleged incident or will the city have to cover these costs, and if so, what is the estimated amount if it is currently known?
- Since there would have been multiple offenses involving Patterson, will this increase the cost of insurance, and if so, how much more will it cost the City of Florence each year?
The Daily Record of September 2 officially requested from the City of Florence all formal complaints filed by former and / or current employees of the City of Florence against Patterson and all insurance claims filed by the City of Florence with the city insurance. supplier regarding Patterson.
On September 7, the city attorney denied the request.
The concerned citizen group also requests a timeline provided which outlines the following:
- List of board members who checked Patterson’s background and a list of those who voted for his hiring and those who voted against.
- A list of council members who voted to keep Patterson after his first alleged offense, and a list who voted against.
- A list of board members who voted in favor of retaining Patterson after his second alleged offense and a list who voted against.
- The current number of plaintiffs against the City and Patterson in this most recent alleged case that led to his dismissal.
- Did Patterson have pre-negotiated severance packages? Did the city have a clause that canceled this package if its dismissal was for an unethical violation? If not, why not, especially given the two previous alleged trials against him and the city?
- In addition to Patterson’s salary, did he have any additional benefits such as free water, housing allowance, car allowance, or bonus structures that would be considered “outside” of a city manager package? normal?
- What are the total costs to date for dealing with the alleged lawsuits against the city because of Patterson, including, but not limited to, deductibles paid to insurance companies, increased premiums owed to Patterson, legal fees spent defending the city because of Patterson’s alleged offenses?
- Is the city aware of any embezzlement involving Patterson or other former city employees who interacted with Patterson?
- In the previous alleged cases against the city, have BAG orders been executed against anyone to receive a settlement from the city?
Patterson has applied for a handful of jobs outside of the region and out of state over the past two years.
The Lamar Ledger reported in December 2019 that Patterson was one of three finalists vying for the post of Lamar City Administrator. He withdrew a second such application after being named a finalist for the city administrator in July.
In June, the Talent City, Oregon, Mail Tribune reported that he was one of three finalists for the position of City Manager of Talent.
According to the Monte Vista Journal, the Monte Vista city council began negotiations with Patterson for the post of city manager in August, but he reportedly refused after the parties could not reach an agreement.
More recently, the Mount Desert Islander of Bar Harbor, Maine, reported that two days after being fired by Florence City Council, he was unanimously chosen by the Southwest Harbor Select Board to be the next director. from the city. Less than a week later, he removed his name from the post and released the city from his contract.
According to the news article, he initially accepted the city’s offer of a three-year contract at $ 115,000 per year effective October 4.