The Writing on the (City Hall) Wall
Carmel City Council hints that a decision on Guillen is close.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
It’s getting to be a regular event in tiny Carmel-by-the-Sea. For at least the second time in as many months, some two dozen Carmelites sat vigil in the City Council chambers Sept. 21, waiting to see if the City Council, which had scheduled a closed session to discuss the matter, would remove City Administrator Rich Guillen.
Former Carmel Human Resources Manager Jane Miller accused Guillen of sexual harassment in a lawsuit that was settled in July with a more than $600,000 payment to Miller.
Carolyn Hardy addressed councilmembers as they assembled on the dais before their private meeting.
“If you continue to… condone [Guillen’s] conduct by taking no action, we will not come to your defense, because your action will be indefensible,” she said.
Under Guillen’s watch, five former senior employees have walked away with a total of $1.1 million in settlements in the past seven years, although Miller was the only one to file suit.
Attorney Michael Stamp, who has represented all of the employees, said in a sworn declaration in the Miller case that all had similar claims, including hostile work environment and age or sex discrimination.
In the council chambers, residents chatted among themselves and even ordered pizza as the council met behind closed doors. Several hours later, it appeared there might be a decision: City Attorney Don Freeman asked to speak with a resident, who relayed Freeman’s request for no audience reaction in case of an announcement.
But some 30 minutes later, the City Council reconvened in public to announce that the meeting would be continued Sept 23.
Mayor Sue McCloud responded to an observation that the council seemed close to ending its months-long deliberations by saying only, “There’s many a slip between the cup and the lip.”