It all began with a brief comment from Susanville City Councilmember Quincy McCourt that was then followed by a cryptic request from councilmember Thomas Herrera at the July 14 council meeting to put an item on the Wednesday, Aug. 4 agenda to consider a move to “restructure some of the correct council seats.”
Herrera said the council’s number one priority was transparency, and he felt the council was not adequately meeting that standard. He said he wanted to see if there was council support to restructure the seats.
When Mayor Wendy Schuster responded to the city attorney’s request for clarification at the meeting, she suggested Herrera was talking about the mayor’s seat.
“I don’t know if it’s exactly that — ” Herrera replied, “a discussion on restructuring.”
In a telephone interview Friday morning after the agenda was posted, Schuster said she found the comments at the July 14 council meeting humiliating and without cause.
In a telephone interview Friday morning, Herrera said he brought the matter up because he felt some residents have been overlooked or not represented during the council meetings.
“I do have a great amount of respect for the mayor,” Herrera said. “I think it’s wonderful the way she does her agendas and how she shows up for all the high school events. I think in many ways she’s a great mayor. I think the one item that may be in question is simply the feud with her and Mr. McCourt, and the way the room seems to be filled with people who are pretty consistently given false information. Attacking McCourt and myself when we simply want to give more credence to the residents. So, I feel perhaps it’s time for a mayor to represent everyone in Susanville equally. I feel that’s kind of where we’re headed. Even though I’m the one who requested it, the majority of the council does feel this way. I just want to have some honest dialogue.”
McCourt responded to Lassen News’ request for comment on Friday afternoon with an email.
“In a community such as ours here in Lassen County, it truly seems like dialogue exchange can help us work together toward an unwritten consensus and remain comprised of good, friendly, neighborly individuals with free will.
“We can achieve that with four simple steps: Be more selfless today than yesterday; listen more today than yesterday; consider more today than yesterday; and be more involved today than yesterday. Simply the difference between today and yesterday and not attempting an overnight overhaul.
“If we can encourage everyone to feel safe sharing their wants and needs, and we can earn the trust of the community, then we can begin to manage what is important to the people.
“We benefit from telling it like it is and doing our best. The ways of jumping to a vote and diminishing communication seem not to benefit our awesome community here in Lassen County and Susanville. We can be independent, and we can be here for each other!
“It is essential to remind everybody how important each individual is and to go out of our comfort zone to amplify their voice to better unite all of us!”
Acting city administrator Dan Newton placed the discussion on the agenda as item 9A, with the action requested, “direction to staff.”
Members of the public would be able to join in this discussion at City Hall Wednesday, Aug. 4. The council hosts a closed session beginning at 4:30 p.m., and reconvenes in open session at 5 p.m.