Council rejects mayor's rec selection
The Quincy City Council unanimously rejected Mayor Jim Hemberry’s appointment of former mayor Patty Martin as the city recreation director during the Tuesday, Feb. 17 council meeting.
Martin, who served as mayor from 1994 to 1998, took a controversial stance during her tenure against the practice of using industrial waste as fertilizer. Her concerns drew the attention of a Seattle Times reporter and he eventually wrote a book about the issue.
Martin was also director of Q-CARE, which stands for Quincy Community Activities and Recreation, a community cultural, education and recreation organization, a pool manager and worked to secure a grant for construction of the Quincy Aquatic Center.
Hemberry said Martin was the best candidate for the position, given her experience of developing recreation programs and with the aquatic center.
“I stand behind my position to appoint Patty,” Hemberry said. “I think a lot of people have forgotten what she did before she was mayor and what she did for this community. I honestly think the best person for this program is Patty.”
Martin’s farm chemical stance was the focus of the opposition against her appointment.
Former mayor Dick Zimbelman spoke at the meeting during a public comment period against the appointment.
“I was shocked when I heard this,” Zimbelman said. “I thought somebody pulled a dirty joke on me. I don’t think no one on the council is able to control this lady. We’ll be paying her to go on another one of these campaigns. The woman will tell you she’s doing this or the other and then she’ll go on another one of those campaigns and do another book about farming in Quincy and how bad the soil is around here.”
Curt Morris also spoke against the appointment.
“Community support is important,” Morris said. “Will this person get the support of the community? If you don’t have the support of the community, then the rec program will go kaput. You need to have someone to get the support of the community.”
Following the comments, Hemberry asked the council for a motion to appoint Martin to the recreation director position. After an initial delay, councilmember Paul Worley made a motion to appoint her and Manuel Guerrero seconded the motion.
Councilmember Scott Lybbert spoke out against the appointment during the discussion period.
“I’ve backed you 100 percent on everything you’ve done so far,” Lybbert said. “But on this you’ve taken a left turn and are way off base. You need to have community support in this position. I think this could be heading in the wrong direction. We need to take some time. It would be better to wait and repost it. With her talent and skills I agree, but I think there is a lot of baggage.”
When Hemberry called for the vote, no councilmember (councilmembers Rebecca Young and Tony Gonzalez were absent) voted for the appointment.
After the meeting, Hemberry said he was disappointed in the decision. He said Martin’s qualifications made her the best candidate.
“I wanted someone who could develop a recreation program and I knew she could do that,” Hemberry said. “I’m certainly disappointed. It’s going to set us back on what we wanted to do.”
Hemberry said the city will repost the job and start with a fresh pool of applicants. That means the city will likely have to hire a pool manager and may not be able to apply for grants to fund recreation programs this year.
During an interview on Wednesday, Martin, who has worked as the manager of the Leavenworth City Pool for the past four years, said she applied for the job because she wanted to help her hometown.
“I wanted to use my experience to help the community,” Martin said. “I would have put all my heart into this program.”
Regading the vote, Martin said, “I’m sorry I’m such a threat. It wasn’t about whether or not I could do the job. It’s about making sure a person who stood up to do the right thing and against something that was illegal doesn’t have a voice. I have supporters in the community. I’m sorry we have a council that has little backbone.”