Members from the Rancho Bernardo Planning Board say they felt "threatened" after a deputy director from Mayor Bob Filner's office visited in January warning the board could lose its indemnification.
The board voted to send an email to deputy director of open government Steve Hadley asking him to clarify his intentions after he allegedly brought a message of concern from the mayor at the Jan. 23 board meeting.
“The mayor is considering decertifying—asking the council to decertify—this committee,” Hadley had said at the January meeting, citing a concern that the board was not following the Brown Act.
However, when Patch reached out to Filner's press secretary Lena Lewis by both text and email during the meeting, she said Hadley was not authorized to speak for the mayor.
The mayor's office would not respond to multiple emails and phone calls from Patch seeking an explanation for how Hadley came to be at the January meeting and speak on behalf of the mayor.
Board member Dick Katz called Hadley's message a "total threat," while member Jeannie Faulkrod said she felt "bullied."
"He made it sound like we were going to get personally sued," Faulkrod said.
Board Chair Teri Denlinger said the city indemnifying the board would be like "the city suing the city."
"I dont see that happening," Denlinger said.
Peter Tereschuck said he felt Hadley should come to the board and apologize for his statement.
The board has accused member Robin Kaufman of reporting violations of the Brown Act to Hadley and the mayor's office.
Denlinger said complaints by a board member of a violation of the Brown Act must be submitted in writing and applications must besubmitted to Senior City Planner Brian Schoenfisch within five days of the complaint if it stems from the city level.
"It was clear that Mr. Hadley and Ms. Kaufman communicated by email to several people... the city attorney, on an on, with itself is violation of the Brown Act," Denlinger said. "There were so many things wrong with him coming to this board with a threat."
The board made a motion to send an email to Hadley, asking him to come back to the planning group and explain how council policy was violated. The motion passed 12-3.
The board also voted for the removal of Kaufman, but unclear bylaws created confusion. Deputy City Attorney Heidi Vonblum clarified the laws in an email, stating that a two-thirds vote of the group as a whole was needed for member removal.
The board counted two-thirds of the votes of those present at the meeting, not counting the two abstentions or Kaufman's vote.