Ex-Public Works director speaks out
Dale Klever was on his way home from the City Council meeting on Jan. 15 when he got a call from his boss.
Acting City Manager Randy Dunn informed him that he had been placed on administrative leave, and he was told not to talk to any employee or city contractor or to perform any duties in the capacity as Public Works director.
Three days later, he was fired.
Klever said he "was shocked" by the turn of events.
"I haven't gotten any bad evaluations; I haven't gotten any disciplinary action," Klever said in a phone interview Wednesday. "I haven't gotten any indications."
Klever said the official letter, which he received on Jan. 19 and was dated the day before, stated his "contract had been terminated without cause."
He said the letter also indicated Dunn was acting with the advice of the City Council.
A call to Dunn was not returned.
Moreover, Klever said he was completely taken by surprise to learn that Mayor Tom Reische had been dissatisfied with him for some months.
"Tom Reische hinted that he was unhappy with me for awhile, (and) that's the first I heard of that. That's the first I've heard," said Klever, referencing an article that appeared in the Colusa County Sun-Herald on Wednesday.
"If they were talking about me, it has been behind my back."
Reische had indicated in the past his disappointment with Klever. But in an interview Tuesday, gave no specific motivation for why the city terminated his contract.
He said he believed the city can move forward without filling the position, which will help to absorb the nearly $40,000 it will pay Klever as part of a severance package.
"If everyone steps up to the plate, I think that position will stay vacant," Reische said. "And I think we have the people who can do that."
In fact, Reische hinted that the Public Works staff was already carrying a significant amount of that load already.
"In my opinion, the city will recover that severance and book some on top of that," the mayor said.
Klever said he was very disappointed by how the dismissal took place, and cannot understand why no one took the time to sit down and talk to him if there were concerns.
"I agree with everything that Dale (said), and I am very, very sorry that we lost someone I think was a very, very good employee," Councilwoman Donna Critchfield said.
Critchfield declined to comment on the termination itself. The other council members also declined to comment, citing personnel confidentiality laws.
Pressed on work production, employee relations and financial issues, Klever remained steadfast that he could not think of any motivation for the decision.
He believes, if anything, he has saved the city money by not having to use engineering services for some projects, and by training staff in-house to reach necessary certification levels.
Klever does agree that many of the current projects in the department can be absorbed by existing staff, but he thinks the city will ultimately have to pay more when forced to go to the contracted city engineer for other work.
Klever may be a victim of a general housecleaning at City Hall, which started with the firing of City Manager Jan McClintock.