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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of November 13 - 19, 2002

News

Hailey Mayor Al Lindley resigns

New mayor to be appointed Nov. 18


By GREGORY FOLEY
Express Staff Writer

Hailey Mayor Al Lindley abruptly resigned from his elected post Friday after being informed by a member of the Hailey City Council that all four council members had expressed a vote of no confidence.

In a Nov. 8 letter addressed to the Hailey City Council, Lindley wrote: "I was informed today, by (Councilman) Rick Davis, that a vote of no confidence has been given by the Hailey City Council. As I had informed the council, if anyone had a problem working with me I would resign. Please take this letter as notice of my resignation. I am very sorry we could not work out a working relationship."

Mayor Al Lindley

 

Hailey City Council President Susan McBryant is currently acting as mayor of the city.

McBryant Tuesday afternoon said she could not comment on any matters pertaining to the mayor’s resignation.

Councilman Davis Tuesday confirmed that last week he individually conducted a poll of each council member by telephone to determine if—for reasons still unclear—they might have lost confidence in the mayor. "I called each council person individually and asked them if they had lost confidence in the mayor’s ability, and everyone said they had," Davis said.

Davis said he then informed Lindley Friday that all members of the council had all voiced doubt about his ability to serve as the city’s senior-ranking elected official.

Davis declined to comment on why he personally had lost confidence in the mayor and decided to conduct the informal poll.

Council member Martha Burke, who left Hailey Saturday for a week-long trip out of state, said Monday that she had not received Lindley’s letter of resignation prior to her departure, and therefore could not comment.

However, Lindley elaborated on his personal reasons for resigning from the mayoral position Tuesday afternoon—after being out of public view and contact all day Monday.

Lindley released a letter Tuesday stating that he had voluntarily chosen to step down from office because of circumstances surrounding two grievances filed by two different city employees against him for alleged "verbal sexual harassment."

"When presented with one of the grievances, I admitted to most but not all of the charges," he wrote. "I still have not been given the courtesy of reviewing the second grievance. As I understand it they both mostly relate to my using the term ‘sweetie’ when addressing the individuals. Yes, I do use that term, and did at various times to the individuals, but no it is not made in any references to sexual intent."

Lindley said in the letter he agreed—with certain conditions attached—that the grievances would be handled according to a confidential procedure outlined in city policy.

He alleged in the letter that McBryant and the two employees who filed the grievances ultimately violated the confidential terms of the agreement by talking about the matter with other individuals in Hailey City Hall.

"Therefore a positive working relationship with the individuals and council could never occur. I therefore resigned as I wanted to work on positives and not dwell on negatives," he concluded in his statement.

After releasing the letter, Lindley said he believed his rights had been violated, and stated that he believes he did not exhibit any behavior that legally qualifies as sexual harassment.

"I don’t want to work with people who are against me," he said.

Despite Lindley’s statements Tuesday, it remained unclear whether the issuance of any grievances by city employees was the foundation for a vote of no confidence by all members of the council. After Lindley released the written statement, McBryant and Davis both said they could not comment on whether the two matters were directly related, or on what their reasons were for casting a vote of no confidence.

Upon his exit from the mayor’s office Friday, Lindley had served only 10 months of a four-year term. He was sworn into office by former Mayor Brad Siemer last January, after running unopposed in the November 2001 election.

Hailey City Council members are scheduled to appoint a new full-time mayor at their regular meeting next Monday at 6 p.m. in the Hailey Town Center.

McBryant said Tuesday she—as acting mayor—planned to leave the item on the agenda and ensure that it is addressed.

"I think the council members would like to do it as soon as possible," she said.

Hailey city attorney Ned Williamson explained that McBryant will preside over the meeting, and will have the opportunity to lead a discussion and vote among the panel members on who should be the next mayor. Council members could pick one of themselves or a member of the public, he said.

The appointee will legally serve as mayor until the next general election in November 2003, Williamson said.

"If a council member is appointed, then the new mayor would nominate a new council member to be approved by the council," he added.

 

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