City Council pays $38,000 to avoid litigation

bcc1_27After a closed session labelled potential litigation during their afternoon Study Session, the Bishop City Council came out and their attorney offered an announcement. Peter Tracy was sitting in as counsel. According to observers, he said, in effect, that the Council had considered hiring retired Colonel David Buckingham as City Administrator and that he claimed he was harmed by their not hiring him. So, they paid him $38,000 to make no further claims.

Unconfirmed reports from reliable sources indicate that the Council offered a contract to Buckingham, that he signed it and made plans to move to Bishop only to have the offer withdrawn. It is not known if the City had signed a contract or why they may have withdrawn one.

Officials have declined to reveal details about what resulted in the $38,000 pay-out of City funds to Buckingham. Reliable sources did say that Buckingham and his wife had travelled to Bishop and spent several days here meeting people. It was also reported that he had put his house in Virginia up for rent and was looking for a place to live in Bishop.

Reports further indicated that the contract with Buckingham was planned for approval July 14th. There was no action on the City Administrator item on the 14th.

On July 28th, the Council unanimously offered the City Administrator contract to Jim Tatum, who accepted and will start work at the end of this month.  A press release with more details was expected to be released Tuesday.


21 Responses to City Council pays $38,000 to avoid litigation

  1. C,Wyler August 11, 2014 at 10:20 pm #

    Awesome job ciy council! Way to do your homework this time around. Such a joke!!

  2. A Citizen August 11, 2014 at 11:29 pm #

    Mammothitus… Now Bishop has gotten it. Didn’t know it was contagious.

  3. Trouble August 12, 2014 at 6:00 am #

    Good job boys!

  4. Inyo Citizen August 12, 2014 at 7:01 am #

    Is the goodolboy network coming back? Could the city have used $38,000 for water and sewer rather than raising the rates? Or maybe keeping our own police dept.? looks like something stinky if it was worth that much money to make it go away. imagine what the lost lawsuit would have cost.

  5. Steve August 12, 2014 at 8:27 am #

    Could the person who dropped the ball at the City pay for this instead of us taxpayers?

    • Desert Tortoise August 12, 2014 at 11:32 am #

      I have been slowly coming around to the notion that at fault public employees ought to pay the cost of settlements for acts they committed on duty that were not within public policy. Courts cannot authorize or demand the expenditure public tax money. Only an elected legislative body has the authority to appropriate public money. In theory a legislative body could simply refuse to pay a plaintiff in a suit and there is no recourse if they do. If a legislative body refuses to spend the money, there is no recourse. But a judge could order individual employees to pay a settlement and I am starting to believe it would very much be in the public interest for this to happen. Currently public employees are pretty much indemnified from their mistakes, even when they are deliberate and done with malice. The pubilc gets to pay the bill for their misdeeds, in part because legislative bodies are loathe to challenge a court directly and in part because they are afraid to force employees to bear the cost of their misdeeds. That should not stand.

  6. bishop rocks August 12, 2014 at 8:51 am #

    That is shameful. Bishop needs to elect qualified leadership that is capable of making decisions they can stand by for our community. Between this and the ridiculous courthouse decision, an election can’t come soon enough.

    • Inyo Citizen August 12, 2014 at 6:53 pm #

      ‘cept look who’s running for office…..

  7. upthecreek August 12, 2014 at 8:59 am #

    cab fare for the city..


    • Cowboy August 13, 2014 at 6:50 pm #

      Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

  8. John Barton August 12, 2014 at 9:08 am #

    If I was responsible for loosing $38,000 at any job I’ve ever had, I would have been shown the exit. This sitting council is incompetent and should be all fired ASAP. Let’s all get out and vote in the upcoming elections and let the “leaders” know this is unacceptable.

  9. Eastern Sierra Local August 12, 2014 at 9:31 am #

    Granted it’s only $38,000 but with the City’s current lack of a reliable revenue stream, reluctance to generate new revenue, and the Council deciding against selling a viable and strategic piece of property for a signature Court House and County center in downtown Bishop all on the advice of “some local leaders;” this mess up has got to be embarrassing for the City.

  10. WHY? August 12, 2014 at 10:15 am #

    What goes around often comes around. “The truth is out there”.

  11. Disappointed August 12, 2014 at 2:11 pm #

    I am so disappointed in our local government. I know most of the sitting counsel members (some better than others) and consider them “good” people. They come from various backgrounds, and are well educated but lack experience and, lately, common sense. It baffles me that when people get elected to a public office they quickly change and, instead of doing what is best for the City and their constituents, they become “experts” with every issue that comes before them, rather than seeking advice FROM the experts. In short, I believe the power has gone to their heads.

    In this particular case, the facts are the facts: they hired this guy, sent him a contract (which he signed) and suddenly changed their minds and chose a local boy (no offense meant to Mr. Tatum) who had already been considered BEFORE the contract was sent to the Colonel. I am confident that they were advised by the City Attorney prior to reversing their decision. Whether what they did was legal or not, I am not qualified to comment on. However, what they did was completely immoral.

    I can’t begin to imagine what this man (and his family) have gone through, having already made preparations to move across the country, only to have our Council pull the rug out from under him. After this action, I’m sure he’s thanking his lucky stars that he will not be working with/for this City Council!

    Considering that this is an election year for two of the sitting members, I wonder how much pressure there was from prominent figures in our community to hire the local guy: it would be in their best interest to keep the “voters” happy, rather than to do the right thing. Shame on our City Council: you just gave a black eye to the City of Bishop.

    • Benett Kessler August 12, 2014 at 2:49 pm #

      Just a reminder. We don’t have all the facts. BK

      • Common Sense August 12, 2014 at 7:15 pm #

        Although “we don’t know all the facts”, which is true, common sense gives us a STRONG sense of what they are. Had the City Council not sent a contract to the Colonel and he didn’t sign it, what could they possibly fear litigation for other than breach of contract? I’m fairly certain I can’t bring forth legal action against any business or government agency that I ever interviewed with who didn’t offer me a position. I’ve also net heard any word of slander, prejudice or any other cause for fear of litigation. Sadly we’ll probably never know what exactly happened but we have a pretty good idea.

      • Fact Check August 13, 2014 at 8:40 am #

        @BK – What was the final vote on the Council’s decision to give themselves a raise?

  12. Jim Cameron August 12, 2014 at 2:59 pm #

    Vote ’em out ! Vote ’em all out after investigating what actually transpired !

  13. earl duran August 13, 2014 at 12:54 pm #

    Sounds like the Colonel made a quick 38,000 of the Citizens of Inyo county, what a group of Morons making the decisions for the City of Bishop. Sounds like a knee jerk reaction.

    • Gotta love it August 14, 2014 at 8:58 am #

      Looks like the real idiots are the city of Morro Bay. They paid more for this guy one who is sue happy.
      Not someone that I would trust.
      Just my opinion.

      • Bishop Pioneer August 14, 2014 at 3:55 pm #

        Hey Gotta love it,

        The Colonel is lied to and wants to have his financial loss made right. HE WAS LIED TO by the council and you wouldn’t trust him? Great logic on your part. If you’re not running for city council put your name out there as a write in candidate. You’ll go together with the current group like peas and carrots.


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