The Santa Clarita City Council has closed a rift that occurred last week after council members complained publicly about the behavior of Councilman Dennis Koontz.
"I was very pleased with how it turned out," Koontz said Monday of the council's reconciliation. It was time, he said, for the council to get back to work.
The rift emerged after Mayor Jan Heidt expressed concern about the behavior of Koontz and his fiancee, Parks Commissioner Linda Storli. Heidt had said she planned to discuss the matter at last Saturday's "team-building" workshop, designed to help the five council members function better as a unit.
Heidt said some Santa Clarita residents had complained to her that Koontz and Storli are overly affectionate in public, especially since they are still married to others. "I'm always answering questions about him and I'm tired of it," Heidt said at the time. "People complain to me all the time."
Koontz and Storli said they have been separated from their spouses for more than a year and plan to marry after their divorces become final.
In the end, the council workshop never addressed Koontz's behavior. But the council decided that when personal problems arise in the future, "handling it personally is the best way to go," Koontz said. Heidt and Koontz said they consider the matter closed.
The council did address, however, Koontz's appearance last week before the city Parks and Recreation Commission, where he criticized the city parks director for proposing swimming fees at city parks.
Heidt and Councilwoman Jo Ann Darcy said last week that Koontz should not have attended a commission meeting because he could have influenced the opinions of commissioners, who are supposed to advise the council independently.
Saturday, Koontz defended his remarks before the commission, but he and the other council members agreed that they will not attend future meetings of city commissions.
The workshop had been scheduled for weeks and was a follow-up to a similar session held last fall to help council members set goals for themselves and the city.