South Pasadena City Commission held its second consecutive Monday morning special commission meeting March 16 to further discuss the potential ousting of their mayor, Dan Calabria.
By the time it was over, it was decided was that the mayor’s legal team would meet with South Pasadena’s city attorney to attempt to resolve the matter.
To put it plainly, things are stuck in a stalemate.
Mayor Calabria refutes a 15-page report that was conducted by an independent investigator – hired by the city commission for $225 an hour following a unanimous decision by the four remaining commission members to remove the mayor from office – which cites malfeasance, misfeasance, neglect of duty and incompetence on behalf of the mayor while conducting his duties.
Mayor Calabria, in his opposition, cites a conflict of interest on behalf of the investigator who carried out the investigation, W. Russell Hamilton, III.
“He was supposed to be an independent, objective investigator. He is none of the above,” said Mayor Calabria, referring to the previous relationship Hamilton had with GrayRobinson, the law firm that employs South Pasadena’s contracted city attorney, David Ottinger, who has worked with Hamilton on separate matters of unrelated business in the past.
The report itself and prior unanimous decision to remove Mayor Calabria from office both stem primarily from the mayor’s alleged detrimental treatment of the city clerk. However, the mayor’s alleged poor memory and excessive public records requests were also brought up in the report. The mayor was unable to recall that it was divulged to him and to the commission – during a prior commission meeting in which it was decided to pursue an outside, independent investigator to investigate the mayor – that the investigator being sought, Hamilton, indeed had a prior working relationship with GrayRobinson. Once the rest of the commission and the city attorney quickly assured Mayor Calabria that he had, in fact, been given this information, the mayor asked for the DVD recording of the meeting in which the instance occurred.
The majority of the public in attendance seemed to be on the side of their elected mayor, however.
“My recommendation to you is to cancel this vote,” said South Pasadena resident Pete Franco. “Don’t put legal action against someone because you don’t like them … because of a disagreement.”