Local Government

Council To Discuss Possible Dismissal of City Manager at April 27 Meeting

The City Council has scheduled a special meeting for Tuesday, April 27, 4:00 p.m. The only item on the agenda is a Closed Session one entitled “Appointment, Employment, Evaluation of Performance or Dismissal of Public Employee,” and the title “Ken Domer,” who has served as Fullerton’s City Manager for over three years. The Council discussed Domer’s job performance last week during the Closed Session of their April 20 meeting, but offered no report from that meeting, in keeping the practice of not publicly discussing personnel evaluations or negotiations.

Contacted by The Observer, Mayor Bruce Whitaker would not comment on either the April 20 evaluation or any possible decisions that might come out of the April 27 meeting.

Ken Domer was hired as City Manger in July, 2017. He previously served for four years as the Assistant City Manager for the City of Huntington Beach, and before that, City Manager of Villa Park. If dismissed, Domer would be the second administrator to be let go since the election of two new City Council members, Nick Dunlap and Fred Jung, took office in December. In January the City terminated its contract with Parks and Recreation Director Hugo Curiel, and has not yet hired a replacement.

To view meeting details, visit https://fullerton.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx.

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13 replies »

  1. This actually promises to be a fascinating test of the state of American Democracy today, and then of democracy here in O.C.

    The fate of a fairly powerful public official, the city manager, is (BOLT OUT OF THE BLUE) going to be decided IN CLOSED SESSION by the City Council.

    And Everybody is being tight-lipped, saying that “this is a personnel issue”

    Well, what’s _a fair_ personnel issue?

    Are we talking about financial or sexual impropriety? Most of us doubt it.

    So if the issue is NOT about CRIME, then it is ABOUT POLICY.

    And that ceases to be a “personnel issue” and SHOULD BE DEBATED PUBLICLY.

    And let’s be honest, our current city manager has been a complex figure. There’s no particular reason for most of us to definitely want to support him or definitely want him to leave.

    The issue is the LACK OF TRANSPARENCY the feeling that this is A COUP or even possibly AN INSIDE COUP with the City Manager extracting promises from the Council as a condition for continuing.

    AND IN EITHER CASE, IT LOOKS TERRIBLE.

    Yet be sure, EVEN STANDING, EMBARRASSED (“just shut-up and watch”) / ANGRY ON THE SIDE LINES, THE WHOLE CITY WILL BE WATCHING.

    • “This actually promises to be a fascinating test of the state of American Democracy today, and then of democracy here in O.C.”

      Yeah? How so? A majority of the Council, democratically elected (“democracy” is not capitalized) want to get rid of a guy. This has nothing to do with policy; this has to do with performance. A coup? How idiotic. There’s lots of reasons to cut their loses with Mr. Domer. Get a grip, man.

      Don’t like the secrecy? Take that up with the pro-labor legislature that has shrouded the “personnel” behavior of bad bureaucratic actors in mystery forever. I assure you Domer absolutely doesn’t want this discussed in public, and really if it were I predict you’d regret your bloviating in no time.

      Your last sentence is just pathetic. I can’t even figure out what it means. And, oh, yeah. The whole city will not be watching.

      • David, this went LIKE A SONIC BOOM through the City. If they were hoping that they could just strangle Ken out in a back alley with piano wire, with nobody noticing … no. This is going to be the most PUBLIC “closed” session in recent memory.

  2. City of Fullerton has increasingly been bolstering the depth of its cone of silence in a false claims of greater transparency. The stench is thickening just like the pockets lined by the elected officials that have allowed corruption to anchor itself deep into the taxpayer coffers and PPE funds.

    • I am happy to admit that it hasn’t happened in Fullerton in living memory – if at all – which is a monumental tribute to the stasis and inertia of previous city councils. Armstrong, Meyers, Felz and Domer set the standard for arrogant, know-it-all bureaucracy. This list of idiotic projects and boondoggles and cover ups is longer than your chasuble. People I have spoken to in Fullerton knew it was just a matter of time, so I doubt if, when it happened it caused more than a ripple, and that among the true believers.

  3. The City needs a strong shot in the arm. I think a different look at things in are city are desperately needed. 3 years is absolutely long enough to show your skills. Nothing changed and really actually got worse. Don’t blame the pandemic either. Nobody at City Hall missed a paycheck and yet nothing was done. Lets turn the page and start a new chapter.

    • “Strong shot in the arm” — LOL … the City does not need a Fascist Coup.

      “Nobody at City Hall missed a paycheck and yet nothing was done.” — Actually all kinds of people were furloughed.

      So much for making “Kindness” a hallmark of the next four years 😉

  4. Hitting the tree method didn’t work to well…lets hope this process goes smoother. The big issue in my mind seems to be the problem of how he seems to have sided with the ideology of the pre ious council. I couldn’t help notice a defining moment for me when I noticed the great elation Dorner seemed to portray alongside the contrasting disgust at that meeting when unelected Jan Flory was appointed by FitzGerald a council seat ignoring all the 20 qualified applicants

  5. Our city Council has turned into a mirror of Congress. They’ve split into a 3-2 faction and everything is partisan now. They skipped Ahmed Zahra and put in Nick Dunlap – which tells me they aren’t focused on what’s best for the City. We’re in districts now, so why Fred Jung voted for Nick Dunlap which ultimately denies all the residents in Zahra’s district representation at the top level in the City. I can guarantee they will vote in Fred Jung next further denying district representation at the top level. And no, I’m not even in Zahra‘s district. It just reinforces that they’re focused on themselves. They are duping everyone into thinking that roads (roads get you elected) are our biggest issue and they’re not. Yes, they need attention but City staff showed the history of our streets during the April 20 special session. I don’t think Mr. Dunlap liked what he heard – there’s work on the roads in Fullerton every day. The problem is a lack of funds (the sales tax would have helped). Our biggest issue is insolvency. This new Council has turned away revenue opportunities through cannabis and are now spending money on prohibition type behaviors. Now they’re going to pay somebody to not work (severance) because he lacked a vision? I haven’t heard one vision out of any of the new council members (or Whitaker) other than we will have the best paved roads on our way to insolvency.

    • You are sore about Ahmed Zahra and district representation Ern? He is being charged by the OC DA for the crime of battery and assault and his being passed over for an honorary title is your gripe? He is a criminal and has no buziness being on Council. That shows the hypocrisy of your politics Ern. Also, you are clueless on city finances. Insolvency? There is information available online per the city website. I suggest you read up and inform yourself.

  6. Fascinating that an outside-of-town replacement was instantly available. And waste of money to pay for both the replacement and severance. Totally agree with Fr. Kris it does sound like a coup and the whole city will be watching. How the condition of the roads and other infrastructure can be blamed on Domer is another mystery since it is the council’s job to set priorities and the can was kicked down the road by numerous council majorities including the majority on this one. Definitely more to this than we know at the moment. Hope the Observer will get to the bottom of it.

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