Letters to the Editor for June 23, 2010
Civil lawsuit lacks merit
To the editor:
At the last regular Baker City Council meeting — the same meeting at which Councilor Milo Pope, pointing at the audience, angrily said to Mayor Dennis Dorrah, “Would that gentleman be asked to shut the hell up?” — Pope lamented that, if City Council appointed Gail Duman to the position recently vacated by Andrew Bryan, he and Councilor Sam Bass would be in a 2-5 minority.
But aren’t many City Council votes 7-0? Perhaps Pope’s 2-5 comment makes sense if Pope had hoped to some day increase, rather than decrease, the number of like-minded councilors from three to four, so they could rehire Steve Brocato as city manager. After all, that appeared to me to be the strategy behind the attempt to recall Mayor Dorrah and Councilor Beverly Calder that failed last October with a majority of citizens voting NO by over 2 to 1.
I’m referring to the same Steve Brocato — fired a year ago as Baker City manager — who last month filed a federal lawsuit against Baker City, the four city councilors who voted to fire him, and me. Surprisingly Brocato’s attorneys advertised the lawsuit in a “PRESS RELEASE” issued to Oregon news media announcing in all caps and bolded: “FORMER BAKER CITY MANAGER STEPHEN BROCATO FILES WHISTLEBLOWER LAWSUIT AGAINST BAKER CITY, COUNCIL MEMBERS.”
Here’s my opinion on the merits of Brocato’s case. The whistleblower allegation against the City will fail, because, 1. It is not true; 2. There were other legitimate reasons to fire Brocato; and 3. Under the City Charter and without a contract, City Council doesn’t need a reason to fire a city manager, just as a city manager without a contract may resign without reason and at a moment’s notice. Political pressures, not legal ones, keep city councils and city managers from acting irresponsibly.
And I predict the allegations that four city councilors and I defamed Brocato will fail, because they are not true.
If any defamation has taken place, it comes from Brocato’s lawsuit, in which he has publicly essentially labeled all five of us liars. To me, that sounds like a winnable defamation suit.
To the editor:
I appreciated your editorial on the disappointment the new A-team movie is sure to be, although you missed reporting on the fact that Mr. T was offered a role (not B.A Baracus) in the movie and turned it down. He is against the amount of sex and violence in the remake, saying “It was too graphic for me. I’ve no doubt it will do big business at the box office but it’s nothing like the show we turned out every week.”