Ponek files claim against city

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

At tonight’s meeting of the Ridgecrest City Council, members will hear in closed session a claim by former Parks and Recreation Director Jim Ponek. The item is listed on the agenda only as “conference with legal counsel, claim No. 13-11 James B. Ponek v. City of Ridgecrest.”

City Manager Dennis Speer told the News Review that although the details of the claim, as well as City Attorney Keith Lemieux’ recommended action, are not yet public, Ponek is asking for severance pay from the city.

Speer acknowledged that since Ponek resigned his post, there was no action to trigger a severance clause. “His claim is very vague,” said Speer. “He eludes to harassment as his reason for filing the claim, but does not back it up with any specific incidents.”

Lemieux said that he could not comment on his opinion, but that the document would be public record after it is presented to the council at tonight’s meeting.

The public portion of the meeting includes the presentation of plaques to the Grand Marshals of the city’s 50th anniversary parade.

A public hearing will collect citizen input on the amended plan for Community Development Block Grant funding.

Finance Director Rachelle McQuiston is scheduled to outline budget projections to the council. According to the staff report, projections were not available before the meeting.

Consent calendar items include a resolution approving the annual report on developer impact fee revenues and expenditures and an agreement between the city and Kern County for the provision of fire-protection services.

The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. in City Council Chambers, and is open to the public. Proceedings will be broadcast live on Mediacom channels 6 and 41, as well as streamed online at www.ridgecrest-ca.gov.

Story First Published: 2013-11-20