Tom Thornton

Tom Thornton (File photo: Daily Press)

By Shea Johnson
Staff Writer
Posted Jul. 13, 2015 at 6:20 PM
Updated Jul 13, 2015 at 6:27 PM

ADELANTO — City Manager Tom Thornton told the city’s attorney he anticipated a “multi-million dollar lawsuit against the city for wrongful termination” two weeks before the City Council voted last Wednesday to terminate two high-profile positions, the Daily Press has learned.

Thornton, who officially resigned Wednesday after only six weeks on the job full time, expressed concerns to City Attorney Todd Litfin not only about the terminations, but about “3 rogue Council Members” who he claimed were interfering “constantly with the day-to-day operations of the city,” according to an email obtained by the Daily Press.

“While they may have the authority to eliminate positions it is my opinion based on many actions that have transpired since Dec 2014 that their reasons are personal in nature and not in any way connected with saving money,” Thornton wrote.

He was referring to Mayor Rich Kerr, Mayor Pro Tem Jermaine Wright and Councilman John “Bug” Woodard. In Councilman Charley Glasper’s absence and with Councilman Ed Camargo the lone dissenter, the three on Wednesday night approved eliminating the positions of Public Works Superintendent Nan Moore and Planning Senior Management Analyst Mike Borja.

The cuts provided the city with a combined $131,900 in savings to its general fund, but came against the backdrop of allegations that Kerr, Wright, Woodard and possibly Glasper have been targeting certain employees and directing Thornton to fire them. If true, that would violate city charter rules.

After resident Mark Smith, who is leading a recall effort against Kerr, Wright, Woodard and Glasper, called authorities midway through Wednesday night’s Council meeting to report violations of the city charter, Thornton was one of the employees who spoke to a San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputy outside council chambers, according to city Conservation Specialist Belen Cordero.

Cordero revealed during Wednesday night’s meeting that she was one of at least four current or former employees who plan to sue the city.

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