More heat on Willows' top executive
A third formal complaint has been lodged against Willows City Manager Steve Holsinger.
The complaint was filed Tuesday by Jeff Williams, who said city officials have ignored previous complaints by him and others that their treatment by the city’s most controversial employee has been less than satisfactory.
Williams is asking the city to put Holsinger on unpaid leave for an investigation, and to terminate him with cause if the claims are found to be true.
Williams claims Holsinger threatened him specifically on March 26 in his office.
On March 28, Williams notified former council member Vince Holvik and Councilwoman Terry Taylor-Vodden about the threat.
“I was never contacted, by anyone,” Williams said.
Williams said the city should also investigate the 2011 statement Holsinger admitedly made to his staff in a department head meeting, which Holsinger insisted should have remained private and not disclosed to the public and therefore taken out of context.
Holsinger, who is on vacation until Jan. 14, said in October that when he made the statement to the effect that “those who did not back him should get out,” he held all of the city’s staff in high esteem and that it was assumed that each were free to speak openly and in confidence.
Williams’ complaint is the third in a string of recent complaints levied against Holsinger, although it is not the first time Holsinger has been in hot water for statements he made.
He angered police officers in early 2011 after accusing them of retaliation and a local business woman in 2010 after making the statement that not all businesses were good for the city.
City officials have said the earlier complaints were dealt with during Holsinger’s 2011 evaluation when the City Council – confident in Holsinger’s job performance – agreed to move forward.
According to Holsinger’s employment contract, his performance is evaluated annually on or before his work anniversary date.
His 2012 evaluation, however, which was initiated in September, was postponed due to the large turnover of City Council members at the last election.
It has not yet been rescheduled, city officials said.
In other complaints against Holsinger, Todd Miller on Oct. 9 accused Holsinger of lying when he told the public he did not know the nature of the Brown Act violation that the City Council was accused of committing at its August meeting.
Land developer Forrest Sprague filed a complaint on Dec. 11 that Holsinger interfered in a potential business development in the works in Orland.
Willows Finance Director Tim Sailsbery, who is also the city’s human resource director, said when it pertains to complaints directed at the city manager, it is up to the council members to deal with it.
“The City Council serves as the city manager’s direct supervisor,” Sailsbery said Thursday.
Williams Mayor Jeff Cobb said Tuesday he was skeptical of third party complaints, referring to Williams complaint about Holsinger’s comment in a staff meeting over a year ago, but that the other complaint would be looked into.
Sailsbery said he is not aware of any circumstance in which a city employee would be placed on unpaid leave during such an investigation.
Although Williams also asked for the city to forward his complaint to the Glenn County Grand Jury, Sailsbery believes the city is not obligated to do so.
The grand jury has its own procedure for handling complaints, including providing a complaint form online.
The main function of the grand jury is to scrutinize the conduct of its officers, departments and agencies of the city and county governments.
If Holsinger is terminated with cause, the city would not be required to pay severance other than accrued sick, vacation, holiday and administrative leave, according to Holsinger’s contract.
If terminated without cause, the city would be obligated to pay him a lump sum equivalent to five months salary plus accrued leave.
Holsinger was not available to comment but has said previously he stands by his performance as city manager and welcomes the evaluation process.