Andrew Edwards, Staff Writer
Posted: 10/22/2010 07:20:16 PM PDT
SAN BERNARDINO – Yet another document has emerged purporting to show that a high-ranking city official blew a gasket.
This time, 7th Ward Councilwoman Wendy McCammack alleges Police Chief Keith Kilmer has created a hostile work environment with “repeated, angry outbursts in front of employees.”
The new allegations come at a time when little less than one week remains before voters decide the fate of a controversial referendum that would amend the City Charter. The Charter issue appears to have aroused the city’s political blocs into renewed conflict.
McCammack makes her claim in a Friday memo addressed to City Manager Charles McNeely. The message, obtained by The Sun, concludes with McCammack asking for it to be treated as hostile work environment complaint against the police chief.
“He scares the heck out of me. In my opinion, he is a time bomb waiting for a place to explode, hurt someone and create liability for the city.”
Reached Friday night, Kilmer did not wish to respond to McCammack’s accusations.
“I really don’t have any comment,” Kilmer said.
McCammack’s memo follows Kilmer’s documentation of another incident that took place Oct. 7 at City Hall.
There are disputed accounts of whatever happened that day. City Clerk Rachel Clark has said publicly that City Attorney James F. Penman challenged Kilmer to a fight after a heated meeting involving senior city officials.
Kilmer also reported his recollections of that event in an Oct. 14 memo in which he also stated Penman talked about fighting, although both Kilmer and Clark have acknowledged they were not sure if the city attorney wanted to argue or have a fist fight.
Penman, however, has dismissed any talk of fighting as absurd. He has acknowledged that the meeting went badly, but has replied that he simply offered to continue the discussion with the chief outside the conference room in order to reach an agreement on anti-blight policies.
In McCammack’s new memo, she writes that Kilmer had a “chip on his shoulder” and approached Penman at the end of the Oct. 7 meeting.
The councilwoman also accuses Kilmer of unruly conduct at a June 7 discussion in the council’s meeting room. McCammack asserts that Kilmer walked into the room, interrupted the city attorney and began cursing before stomping out of the room.
McCammack said by telephone Friday evening that her memo was intended to be confidential.
“I’m not sure if I can really comment on that,” she said.
The city manager said he has not yet seen McCammack’s memo and would need to review it on Monday to determine if the councilwoman’s allegations warrant a personnel investigation.
There has also been talk that some employees may also file some kind of complaint against Penman for his alleged actions during the Oct. 7 episode, but McNeely said he has yet to see anything filed.
McNeely also defended the police chief’s character, saying Kilmer has shown “the utmost character” during his tenure leading San Bernardino’s police.
McNeely and Kilmer both joined the city in June 2009.
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