A debate went on for about twenty minutes on whether or not to allow public comments. The city manager was determined to squash any effort to go forward and at one point was adamant about the whole thing. Most council members didn't want to deny the employees from voicing their concerns.
What's interesting about the proceedings is, of course, the city manager's outburst. But also, it's how a decision to move past this item was reached. The chair (mayor) had to ultimately make the call whether or not to allow public comments. And I'm dumbfounded by what happened.
We have a situation of an ongoing investigation. I am really bothered by the fact that something could affect the integrity of the investigation. I have no knowledge of, you know, specific knowledge of the ongoing investigation. But if it's going to create a situation where it's going to hurt our city or the investigation, then I do have a problem with that.
But at the same time you have the other side that people have a right to speak and they have that right in the United States of America. This is a difficult decision, and I think people have a right to speak. And if people want to incriminate themselves, they have that opportunity to do so. And I have two people who want to speak. I want to hear what they want to say.
(Councilman Johnny Rendon voices his concern and walks out)
Mayor Salinas (forcefully):
I am very concerned about this, and because of the nature of this investigation...I know that there are those that sometimes, you have to step up to the plate.
I am not going to do....I took an oath of office a long time ago to protect the integrity of investigations. Therefore, I am not going to allow it, at this time.
Within twenty seconds he changed his mind. That's OK but his indecision comes after they spent almost twenty minutes on the matter. His reaction is unbelievable. And this person is supposed to be, still, the right man for the job.