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Millbrae Skips Vice Mayor

Discussion in 'The Other Side Of The Hill' started by Doug Radtke, Jan 1, 2018.

  1. Doug Radtke

    Doug Radtke New Member


    I'm posting this just to ask for ideas about how to deal with this situation in Millbrae.

    Though there is no direct evidence of collusion, it strikes me as fairly impossible how three councilmembers in Millbrae came to the conclusion that councilmember Ann Schneider was unfit to be Vice Mayor at exactly the same time without much discussion if they did not discuss the matter beforehand - and therefore violated the Brown Act.

    For the first time in the City of Millbrae's history we will not have a Vice Mayor, but we will have just Mayor Gina Papan. It is unprecedented.

    What recourse do any of us in Millbrae have about this matter? There is no law or municipal code on the books about the rotation - it has merely been just be protocol and good manners to rotate the Vice Mayor to Mayor and nominate the councilmember with the highest vote count that has not been Mayor or Vice Mayor during their term - which is Ann Schneider... who mind you finished only 5 votes shy of 1st first place.

    There are many BIG decisions to be made in Millbrae, including the BART development which should make anyone uncomfortable about what is going on with the rotation. It's a coup - plain and simple.
  2. Michael Stogner

    Michael Stogner Active Member

    Do a public records request of all memos, e-mails of the council members, city attorney etc around a month before and after the event.
  3. Doug Radtke

    Doug Radtke New Member


    Council fails to pick vice mayor
    Squabble mars Millbrae council rotation • Community, officials at odds over typically ceremonial protocol
    By Austin Walsh Daily Journal staff
    • Nov 30, 2017

    Following contentious debate and heated exchanges over the annual City Council rotation, Millbrae selected a new mayor but uncertainty looms regarding who — if anyone — will fill the vice mayor’s position.

    The Millbrae City Council unanimously agreed Monday, Nov. 28, Gina Papan should transition from vice mayor to take the mayor’s gavel from Reuben Holober, but could not reach consensus on who should take her place. As a result, there will be no vice mayor unless the issue is brought back for a future vote.

    According to protocol, Councilwoman Ann Schneider is positioned to move into the vice mayor’s seat as part of the typical one-year rotation, but her colleagues on the council indicated they believed Councilman Wayne Lee was better suited for the position.
    Councilwoman Anne Oliva claimed Schneider is unfit to get in line for becoming mayor because she does not work well with other councilmembers, burdens city staff with unnecessary tasks and is devoid of requisite leadership skills.

    “She doesn’t deserve a promotion. It wouldn’t be fair to the citizens of Millbrae,” said Oliva.

    Papan shared a similar perspective, and suggested Schneider’s behavior behind closed doors was unbecoming of an elected official.

    “It’s something that the public doesn’t generally see or hear,” said Papan, regarding her reservations over Schneider.

    Such claims ignited a fiery dialogue with Millbrae residents who supported Schneider and opposed councilmembers breaking from the customary practice of awarding the vice mayor’s seat to the highest vote getter in the most recent election.

    “This is deplorable,” said Lou Sandrini, who repeatedly scolded the councilmembers and suggested if they wish to deviate from protocol, they would be dishonoring voters’ wishes.

    Resident Todd Repp agreed.

    “If the council chooses to override protocol, that is a direct violation of public trust,” he said.

    For her part, Schneider seemed frustrated yet resigned to accepting that she would be passed up by her colleagues in favor of Lee. She made a motion nominating herself to be vice mayor, and could not get a second supporter for it to move to a vote.

    “This hurts. There’s no doubt about it. I would just love to see this over,” she said.

    Oliva made a subsequent motion nominating Lee as the next vice mayor but suffered a similar fate in an inability to gather a second, so the suggestion also died without a vote.

    The result is the Millbrae City Council going into a scheduled rotation Thursday, Nov. 30, without a candidate to fill the vice mayor’s position.

    “The City Council has voted on a mayor so the city has a mayor. The City Council may or may not bring an agenda item for vice mayor in the future,” according to a statement from Millbrae staff.

    Schneider’s experience is similar to former councilwoman Marge Colapietro’s in 2014, who was jumped by former councilman Robert Gottschalk in line to become mayor.

    Residents noted the parallels between the scenarios, while calling on councilmembers to work past their personal issues.

    Lee suggested though the differences are irreconcilable, while alleging Schneider is prone to bullying and intimidating officials and staffers to get her way.

    “We need to have somebody who is willing to work with the council even if they don’t agree with the council,” he said.

    Lee, however, suggested he believes Schneider could build the skills her critics claim are necessary to be prepared for the vice mayor’s position.

    “I think this person should get another chance to be mayor if she can show she can change and take in what is being said,” he said.

    Repp though questioned the motives of Schneider’s critics, and suggested their behavior was unbecoming of elected officials.

    “There is something wrong here … This is being run like a prom committee, not a city government,” he said.

    Absent from much of the discussion was Holober, who said he would abstain from voting on the matter under an effort to assure a peaceful transition of the mayor’s position.

    Without any clarity on who would be taking Papan’s position though, Holober identified the uncertainty looming for the council’s future.

    “Looks like we are not going to have a vice mayor,” he said.


    (650) 344-5200 ext. 105

  4. Doug Radtke

    Doug Radtke New Member


    Millbrae residents calling for vice mayor
    Public expresses discontent with officials while seeking councilwoman’s promotion
    • By Austin Walsh Daily Journal staff
    • Jan 13, 2018
    Millbrae residents frustrated with the City Council’s inability to select a vice mayor expressed their displeasure with elected officials while calling for Councilwoman Ann Schneider to fill the open position.

    A handful of upset residents attending the Millbrae City Council meeting Tuesday, Jan. 9, encouraged officials to reconsider their November decision to rotate seats at the dais without filling the vice mayor’s position.
    The concerns raised during the public comment period suggested councilmembers were betraying the will of voters, subverting established protocol and acting without transparency, among other accusations, according to video of the meeting.

    “I’m really hoping this is not what we have come to in our local politics. I’m hoping that we can have a sense of civility restored to our local government,” said Planning Commissioner Jean Joh.

    Resident Rose Miller Shubin was more explicit in her support for Schneider.

    “I want to express my disappointment that Ann Schneider was not seated as vice mayor. I think she’s doing a great job,” she said.

    For her part, Schneider said after the meeting she felt uplifted by the support from her fellow residents.

    “People speaking for what happened to me on Nov. 28 — which was the most horrible and humiliating experience of my life — is heartwarming,” she said.

    The comments came in the wake of councilmembers voting to approve naming Gina Papan mayor during the City Council’s annual rotation discussion late last year, but leaving Papan’s former vice mayor seat vacant.

    According to protocol awarding the vice mayor’s position to the second highest vote getter in the most recent City Council election, Schneider would have been the preferred candidate to fill Papan’s former seat.

    During the reorganization meeting though Schneider nominated herself to become vice mayor, and could not find a second vote in support, so the motion died. A subsequent effort to nominate Councilman Wayne Lee suffered a similar fate, and the City Council has gone since without a vice mayor.

    Residents called for a public hearing to be set addressing the matter, inviting a dialogue between officials which could not be held during Tuesday’s public comment session.

    Mayor Gina Papan indicated after the meeting such a wish is unlikely to be granted, considering the variety of sizable residential and commercial development projects councilmembers are slated to examine in the coming weeks. She did express a willingness to reconsider the matter at the request of her colleagues.

    “If two members of the council would like this to be brought up again, I’m more than happy to put it back on the agenda,” she said.

    Schneider said she does not expect a majority of her fellow councilmembers to change their mind.

    “I think we are going to go a year without a vice mayor,” she said.

    Assuming Schneider is correct, City Council meetings from which Papan is absent would proceed as scheduled so long as a quorum of three councilmembers is present, according to city staff. Those present would only need to select a councilmember to temporarily preside over the meeting.

    Officials have been guarded in their justification for keeping Schneider from the vice mayor’s position, only indicating she has conducted herself in a manner unbecoming of a councilwoman.

    To that end, during the rotation meeting, Councilwoman Anne Oliva said Schneider does not deserve a promotion which would put her in line to become mayor.

    Residents during the most recent meeting called for more details regarding councilmembers’ reluctance to support Schneider as vice mayor.

    “Many of us would like you to clear the air and hold a public hearing on the council rotation protocol, including a full discussion of the actions taken on [Nov.] 28, the inadequacy of the present protocol and the need to expand and codify the process so this don’t happen to other people,” said resident Sandra Mangold.

    Resident Jean Wong’s criticism of officials’ decision was even more direct, suggesting that going without a vice mayor is not in the best interest of the community.

    “From my perspective, it does not appear that a majority of the current councilmembers have demonstrated they are capable of governing Millbrae in a way that reflects a true understanding of, or a respect for, the wishes of the citizens,” she said.

    Resident Todd Repp also suggested officials owe it to the public to pick a vice mayor.

    “Twenty-two thousand people want to know who is going to be the mayor next year,” he said. “It’s a fair question.”

    For Schneider, she said she hopes the contentious issue is a catalyst for civic engagement in Millbrae.

    “I want to see the public learn how to take their power back, and if it means I have to go through this then I will go through this. I would prefer to be vice mayor and I deserve to be vice mayor and I would prefer to be mayor next year. But in the long run, we will have a more engaged people of Millbrae and that is the best outcome. I just wish I wasn’t the victim of it,” she said.


    (650) 344-5200 ext. 105

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  5. Doug Radtke

    Doug Radtke New Member

    Lee named Millbrae’s new vice mayor
    Protocol concerns loom over appointment process that bypassed Ann Schneider
    • By Austin Walsh Daily Journal staff
    • Apr 12, 2018

    The Millbrae City Council offered its vacant vice mayor position to basically every eligible elected official except the one who wanted the job.

    “Do I have to accept the nomination? I was just mayor last year. I’d like to have a bit of a break,” said Councilman Reuben Holober, after a majority vote appointed him the post unfilled since late last year. He even voted against himself taking the role.

    Recognizing his concerns, councilmembers decided he should not be forced into the position. So instead they appointed Councilman Wayne Lee, who only reluctantly accepted after attempting to persuade Holober to reconsider.

    Left out of the discussion was Councilwoman Ann Schneider, who has openly jockeyed for the seat and was next in line for appointment according to protocol awarding the vice mayor job to the highest vote getter in the last election.

    Reading the writing on the wall left by her colleagues, Schneider expressed her dissatisfaction with their decision.

    “I am again disappointed. I look forward to working with councilmembers on other things, but I strongly disagree,” she said.

    Schneider voted against both Holober and Lee’s appointment. Lee was ultimately approved by a vote of 3-1-1, with Schneider’s opposition and Lee’s abstention.

    Schneider has been open with her interest in the position since was initially passed over late last year during the City Council’s annual rotation. At the time, her colleagues expressed concerns regarding her fitness for the position and those issues were again raised during the Tuesday, April 10, meeting.

    Holober suggested his justification for opposing Schneider stemmed from her operating outside the City Council’s standard communication practice with city staffers.

    Holober indicated Schneider overstepped her boundaries by bringing issues to directly Millbrae workers before her colleagues on the City Council or former City Manger Marcia Raines, violating best practices relating to relations between elected officials and city staff.

    “None of us take breaching protocol lightly, because it is important for how a city government and staff function,” he said.

    Concerns regarding protocol have been central to the struggle for the vice mayor’s position since Papan moved from the post in January. In the wake of the indecision, residents have repeatedly called on officials to reconsider the issue and allow Schneider to advance into alignment for mayor next year.

    Those calls were heard again prior to the vote.

    “It’s time for each of you to do the right thing. Our community is doing the right thing. Show us we were right in electing you,” said resident Janet Creech, who is among a steadfast group of Schneider supporters.

    Resident Todd Repp shared a similar perspective, claiming councilmembers supporting anyone other than Schneider for the position would amount to a betrayal of the public trust.

    For her part, Schneider said the issues raised regarding her interactions with city staffers were borne from a rift with Raines, who departed from the city’s top post last month.

    Raines worked to always keep a majority of the councilmembers on her side in divisive matters and “clearly I was not one of them,” said Schneider, detailing the fissures leading to the fractured final vote.

    Acknowledging the high tensions surrounding the matter, Lee implored Holober to take the position because “you are the least controversial person.” After being rebuffed, Lee accepted his nomination following Papan asking “will you accept the position please?”

    He was sworn in immediately afterward, to limited fanfare barring Papan’s acknowledgment of “congratulations Mr. Lee.”


    (650) 344-5200 ext. 105

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