88°F
weather icon Clear

City attorney, city manager file complaint; say meeting to discuss employment retaliatory

Updated August 5, 2020 - 3:27 pm

Two of Boulder City’s top staff members say the upcoming discussion about terminating their employment contracts is in retaliation for their testimony in an internal investigation of complaints filed against the mayor.

The employment contracts of City Attorney Steve Morris and City Manager Al Noyola were scheduled to be discussed at a special City Council meeting at 6 p.m. today, Aug. 6,, but Judge Jim Crockett issued a temporary restraining order Wednesday, Aug. 5, that prohibits any action on these agenda items until after a hearing Aug. 20 in Nevada’s Eighth District Court.

Attorneys for Noyola and Morris filed a complaint Monday, Aug. 3, in district Court alleging the possible firing is because they substantiated a series of allegations against Mayor Kiernan McManus, who has been accused by various city employees of “religious discrimination, harassment, bullying and creating a hostile work environment.”

Jeffrey F. Barr and Tiffany A. Kahler are representing Noyola, and Richard C. Gordon and Bradley T. Austin are representing Morris.

They write that Morris and Noyola “were also victims of a hostile work environment through similar acts of discrimination, harassment and/or bullying by the conduct of Mayor McManus and Councilmember (Tracy) Folda.”

They presented a time that showed on July 22 they were interviewed by an outside firm that was conducting the internal investigation and less than 24 hours later, on July 23, McManus sent the city clerk a memorandum asking for the special meeting. He did not give a reason for the special meeting and said “the agenda materials would be submitted the following week.”

“We are aware of the filing,” said Communications Director Lisa LaPlante. “Due to the ongoing status of this complaint, it would not be appropriate to comment at this time.”

LaPlante also said the internal complaints filed against McManus “are not a public record” currently.

“As the city attorney or city manager have filed a lawsuit against the city I am not able to comment at this time other than to say I am not aware of any testimony either of them may have given,” McManus said.

Folda said she had no comment about the complaint.

In their complaint, Morris and Noyola also claim their constitutional rights were violated as well as Nevada’s open meeting law when the notification about tonight’s meeting was given to them.

Both were sent a letter by Folda “on or about July 28.” Additionally, they were formally served notices of the special meeting July 28.

After the letters were sent to Morris and Noyola, the city published the agenda for the special meeting July 30. McManus called for the meeting and Folda is asking council members to consider “terminating” the employment contracts for Morris and Noyola.

According to NRS 241.033(1), a public body is prohibited from holding a meeting to consider the character, misconduct or competence of a public official unless the public body first gives notice to the person.

In the complaint, attorneys for Noyola and Morris write that the letters of notice were from “one rogue councilmember and not the entire City Council.” It was never “ratified” by council.

A preliminary hearing about the complaint is scheduled for 9 a.m. Aug. 20 in District Court.

LaPlante said city’s defense attorney in this matter would be provided from POOL/PACT.

A-20-818973-C by Boulder City Review on Scribd

Temporary Restraining Order by Boulder City Review on Scribd

Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at cgoodyear@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Risk of water shortages projected

An increased risk of potential water shortages in the Colorado River Basin is expected for the next five years, according to projections released earlier this week by the Bureau of Reclamation.

Grant program to aid small businesses

Boulder City has a new grant program to help its small businesses and residents weather through the COVID-19 storm.

Survey reveals fewer ‘historic’ properties

Boulder City will not lose its spot on the National Register of Historic Places even though it no longer has enough contributing properties in the historic area.

Program reimburses families for missed school meals

Students in Boulder City may receive money to pay for meals they missed out at the end of the 2019-2020 school year.

Economic options to be explored

The volatile nature of tourism, which plays a significant role in Boulder City’s economy, has led some of the town’s leadership to explore the idea of attracting other industry opportunities to the community.

Risk fund to pay legal expenses

The city will not have to allocate money from the general fund to pay for its legal representation in a Nevada District Court case involving two of its staff members, according to the head of the finance department.

Mounted police unit great asset for city

This series of day-in-the-life of stories provides a candid look behind the scenes of the Boulder City police officers who protect and serve Boulder City.

Motion to halt firings of city attorney, city manager denied

The motion for a preliminary injunction to prevent City Council from terminating the employment contracts for the city attorney and city manager was denied the morning of Sept. 3 by Jim Crockett, a judge in Nevada’s Eighth District Court.

Complaint reveals plot to end employees’ contracts

A plan to terminate the employment contracts of the city attorney and city manager and deny them their severance pay may have begun more than a year ago, according to a new motion filed in a District Court case against the city.

Goya resigns from Historic Preservation Committee

Longtime Historic Preservation Committee member Alan Goya has resigned from his position, citing the lack of City Council support as a reason for the decision.