POMONA — Councilman C. L. (Clay) Bryant called for the firing of City Administrator A. J. Wilson this week, but the proposal received no support from his fellow council members.
Bryant, who accused Wilson of illegal and irresponsible conduct, said he urged his council colleagues to terminate Wilson during a closed-door meeting Monday night.
But Bryant and Mayor Donna Smith said no other council members agreed to fire Wilson or to ask him to resign.
In an interview before the meeting, Bryant accused Wilson of violating the City Charter by creating the position of executive assistant to the city administrator without receiving formal approval from the city's Merit System Commission. Bryant also criticized Wilson for spending $2,500 for a retreat for city department managers in Temecula without receiving council approval.
"There's a golf course down there, and I don't think Wilson and those department heads are going to be spending all their times in meetings," Bryant said. "He's been making end runs on the council and wasting public money."
"That's preposterous," Wilson said of Bryant's allegation that the Temecula site was chosen because of its proximity to the golf course. "It was the cheapest place we could find."
Wilson said he has discussed the accusations with Bryant in the past and has told the councilman that there was nothing improper about either hiring an executive assistant or scheduling the staff training program in Temecula.
The hiring of the executive assistant was approved by the City Council and was not opposed by the Merit System Commission, Wilson said. The money for the retreat was taken from a city fund earmarked expressly for city staff conferences, he said.
"I've been open and above-board with all the council members in everything I've done," said Wilson, whose hiring last February was hailed by all the council members, including Bryant. "I can't be responsible for one council member having a point of view. . . . I think I have good support from the council, and we're working well together."
In an interview Tuesday, Smith criticized Bryant for making his charges against Wilson at City Council candidate forums and in the press before informing the council. Smith said she finds Bryant's accusations groundless and considers them a ploy to create publicity before his reelection bid in the March 7 City Council primary.
"To my knowledge, (Wilson) hasn't done anything illegal," she said. "I think it just boils down to Mr. Bryant being unhappy with Mr. Wilson, but I don't think he would be happy with anyone in that position. Also, it's election time."
Smith also said Wilson is well-regarded by the council and the public.
"Everyone that I have talked to believes he's a man of vision, that he doesn't believe the city should settle for less, that we've accomplished more in the last 10 months than in several years," Smith said.
Bryant has also contacted the district attorney's office asking for an investigation of Wilson's alleged violation of the City Charter. Deputy Dist. Atty. Jim Hickey said he had received the letter from Bryant but had not decided whether to investigate.