BY MAIRE O’NEILL
When Los Alamos County Council meets in closed session Tuesday to discuss limited personnel matters regarding the performance objectives of the County Manager, Councilor Sean Williams will not be attending,
Following Council’s September 21 4-3 vote to set the Performance Objectives of the County Manager in closed session, Councilor Williams announced that he would not attend a closed session on the issue. He confirmed Saturday evening that he will not attend Tuesday’s meeting. Councilors David Izraelevitz, Sara Scott, Denise Derkacs and Randall Ryti voted in favor of holding a closed session while Councilors Williams, James Robinson and David Reagor voted against.
“This statement is to be read into the record: ‘The matters discussed in the Closed Session of County Council held on Oct. 5, 2021 that began at 5 p.m. were limited only to the topics specified in the notice of the closed session, and no action was taken on any matter in the closed session’,” Williams said.
He said County Manager Steven Lynne’s contract that was included in the agenda packet for the July 13 Council meeting says the following:
“The County Council, in consultant with Employee, shall, within 90 days after the effective date of this Agreement, establish Employee’s performance goals and objectives in writing. Written performance goals and objectives shall be updated at least annually and shall reflect relative priorities among the established performance goals and objectives.”
“So the Council intends to fulfill a contractual obligation, while also taking no action on any matter?’ Williams asked.
Last week, Williams notified Council Chair Randall Ryti, Vice Chair James Robinson, County Manager Steven Lynne and administrative staff that he will also no longer be attending “meetings devoted to maintaining a rolling quorum”.
“With how stridently anti-transparency this Council has been, it’s clear my concerns about certain meetings will never be addressed. At some point I have to look out for number one. Therefore, I will no longer be attending meetings devoted to maintaining a rolling quorum: ‘Leadership’ and the Joint Los Alamos County/Los Alamos Public Schools luncheon,” the email from Williams states. “I expect a tight leash to be kept on (the) Land Use (Committee), but it hasn’t been a vehicle for closed-door decision-making since before (former County Manager) Harry (Burgess) left.”
Williams said the Land Use Committee is comprised currently of Councilors Izraelevitz, Scott and himself and as such is a fixed subquorum of Council. He said “nearly anything relating to land use is discussed” at those meetings.
Williams told the Los Alamos Reporter that his concern about the Leadership Meeting is that the tickler goes out for several meetings, and anything on the tickler can be discussed depending on what individual Council members are interested in or concerned about. The tickler is the forecast of future Council agenda items. In attendance generally are the Council Chair, Vice-Chair and a “rotating” Councilor, the County Manager, the Utilities Manager and the Chair of the Board of Public Utilities, Williams said.
“The mixture of fixed and rotating Councilors and discussing agenda forecasts strikes me as posing a high danger of creating a rolling quorum. A rolling quorum is a situation in which multiple conversations over time collectively form a discussion among a quorum, and quorum discussions of the Council need to be done publicly. And to be clear, I have no way of knowing whether Leadership actually creates a rolling quorum, but that, in my opinion, there’s enough danger of one for me to sit that meeting out,” Williams said.