Residents and city leaders of Pleasant Hill are atwitter over the job performance of their city clerk.
Pleasant Hill’s municipal code lists the act of “keep[ing] accurate records of the proceedings of the city council” as the primary responsibility of the city clerk. By this definition, Pleasant Hill City Clerk Kim Lehmkuhl isn’t doing her job.
On January 6, these revelations were made public during the city council’s regularly-held meeting. Councilman David Durant brought the issue to the table after issuing a citywide memorandum on the matter.
“It’s not good government, it’s not open and transparent,” stated Councilman David Durant during Pleasant Hill’s January 6 council meeting. “It makes the public’s job of staying informed too hard.”
Lehmkuhl has stated that she is overwhelmed by managing her full-time job at a nonprofit and part-time role with the city. She works full-time as a campaign manager for Color of Change, an organization dedicated to making the government more responsive to the needs of black Americans. Lehmkuhl was elected to the $7,000-a-year city clerk position in November 2012.
“I take ownership absolutely of the lack of timeliness of getting that work product in,” Lehmkuhl said to ABC 7.
Over the past year, city leaders have pleaded with Lehmkuhl for the minutes and fellow staffers even offered to teach her the process.
“I didn’t run for this job to be a stenographer; I ran for this job because I do believe in government transparency and I want to make a product that’s actually useful,” Lehmkuhl said in an interview with the Contra Costa Times.
Until the minutes are posted, the public is left with either the video or audio webcasts of council meetings—many of which last several hours. That, and a spotty string of Tweets covering the proceedings.
In his column last week, Daniel Borstein criticized Lehmkuhl for not doing her job and the editorial staff at the Contra Costa Times has called for her resignation.
In response to last week’s council meeting, Lehmkuhl informed the council that the backlogged minutes would be on the next meeting’s agenda.
Read more about Lehmkuhl’s “innovative” new approach to the time-honored role of the City Clerk at the Contra Costa Times.