Clerk explains choice
Cathy Wilcox-Barnes, Nevada City’s city clerk, said Wednesday she appointed Yolanda Bachtell, the candidate challenging for her position, as her deputy because she was “concerned about the duties of city clerk being performed.”
After being placed on paid administrative leave April 25, Wilcox-Barnes sent a letter to Corey Shaver, relieving her of deputy city clerk duties “effective immediately.”
Wilcox-Barnes explained Wednesday she wanted the position held by someone who was “independent.”
Shaver works as an administrative assistant for the city and said she had served as deputy city clerk for 11 years.
In a dramatic move at Monday night’s city council meeting, Bachtell approached the council table in front of a room packed primarily with Wilcox-Barnes supporters and told Tammy Byrd, who was recording the minutes, to leave her seat so she could take over.
Mayor Conley Weaver told Bachtell to return to the audience, where she could take notes and submit them to City Attorney Jim Anderson to have them included in the official record.
Byrd “was not authorized” as city clerk, said Wilcox-Barnes, who said she gave advance notice she would not operate the tape recorder at the city council meeting because she “thought it would be awkward.”
Wilcox-Barnes said she has not returned to City Hall to perform city clerk duties, which include making available public records and publishing notices of special meetings and public hearings, saying the keys to her office supervisor office, where many records are kept, have been confiscated, and she was told to leave immediately and not to speak to other city employees.
City Manager Mark Miller, who placed Wilcox-Barnes on paid leave, said Wilcox-Barnes was told not to speak to other employees only in regards to her office supervisor position and that records from Wilcox-Barnes’ supervisor office could be retrieved for her by someone else.
“She’s welcome to come in,” Miller said of Wilcox-Barnes, adding that he had not called to inform her of that or to notify her of city clerk duties that needed to be performed.
The “crux of the whole problem,” Miller said, is that Wilcox-Barnes holds both an elected position and one under the city manager, blurring an “important segregation” between the two.
“Who’s going to draw the line?” asked Wilcox-Barnes, who has said the city clerk position, which pays $100 per month, requires more than part-time hours.
Miller said it’s the job of the city council or Nevada City voters to make changes to the elected position.
To reach staff writer Josh Singer, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 477-4234.
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