A motion to dismiss County Administrator Dan Field failed today in front of a boardroom packed with members of the public.
The motion was apparently created by Supervisor D.L. Wilson, who cited “fundamental differences of opinion” with Field as a primary reason for firing him, but neither of the other two supervisors would second the motion.
Supervisor Holly Irwin chaired the well-attended meeting, at the beginning of which she gave Field the opportunity to have the discussion in public instead of in private executive session as planned, since it related to him and his employment.
“Not knowing what this is about,” Field replied, “I’d say let’s do it in executive session.”
The supervisors and Field then retired to a private room for the session while the public waited in the main boardroom for well over an hour. A hush came over the room as the party came back in around 12:15 a.m. and Irwin reconvened the meeting a couple of minutes later.
Wilson started by reading from prepared remarks explaining his reasons for taking the action, saying that he was concerned about the future of the county.
“I’m not one to advocate change for change’s sake,” he said. “And even after our discussion I still feel that.”
He said that he and Field have “fundamental differences of opinion” about the direction of the county and in which direction it should go, adding, “I have not requested consideration of this change without great thought. It is my opinion that the path we are on will not lead us to where we need to be.”
Wilson then made a motion to dismiss Field immediately. Supervisor King Clapperton said he would like to speak too, but as he was getting started Wilson raised a point of order, saying that there can be no discussion unless there is a second to the motion. Irwin then moved as chairperson, saying, “As there is no second, the motion has failed,” which was followed by applause in the room.
As is customary for public meetings, the last item on the agenda was Call to the Public, during which members of the public can get up and speak. Former County Assessor George Nault was first to get up, and said that he believes Field has too many job responsibilities, being not only County Administrator but also Interim Finance Director, Clerk of the Board and Librarian.
“This is an old trick of supervisors, overloading you and then you fail,” Nault said. He added that he feels everything Field has been doing is authorized by the Board who hired him, and told the supervisors if Field deserves to be fired, then they should resign too.
Sheriff’s Lieutenant Richard Epps spoke in defense of Field along with a local business owner identifying as ‘Tow Truck Mark’. “Losing him would be a bad thing for the country,” Epps said. “The Fields are honorable people who care about this community,” Mark added.
A volunteer at the Parker Animal Shelter, Rhonda Welch, spoke emotionally about a dog that had died at the animal shelter after the staff acting under Field allegedly neglected to give it veterinary care. She called the situation “hideous” and pointedly attacked Field for allowing it to happen before leaving the podium.
The director of the Parker-area nonprofit PAACE, Duce Minor, also came up to speak, saying that he had been aware of issues involving the county Finance Department for some time and had tried to address them numerous times with Wilson, Clapperton and Field without resolution.
Minor cited “just these three specific examples within my family” and said that promises to resolve the issues have not been kept. “Nothing has happened.”
Referring to Wilson’s attempt to fire Field at the meeting, Minor said, “I appreciate what you tried to do D.L.” and added that he was disappointed at Clapperton. Minor continued to level accusations of wrongdoing at Field, after which Field responded by saying Minor had made erroneous statements and accused Minor of “selling the county out”.
Irwin wrapped up the meeting by saying she had not been aware until today of “certain issues”, presumably raised in the executive session with Field, and that the Board would be addressing them.