By Robert Haugh
The next City Council meeting will be on August 17, 2021.
The major focus of that meeting will be “priority setting.” But there’s another topic that will get a lot of attention.
Councilman Kevin Park’s abusive behavior toward staff will be reviewed.
Here’s how City Manager Deanna Santana described the issue in an email. The Councilmember she refers to is Park.
“… City staff continues to express much concern about overall Council meetings, needless criticism over minor issues, personal criticism, and/or how time sensitive City business is being delayed.
“After last week’s meeting, where the City’s Code of Ethics were violated by a Councilmember, staff has renewed and more strongly expressed concern about interacting with Council and being subjected to similar treatment in public (and particularly how to protect them from that behavior).
“In order to get the best work out of staff and not have them be concerned, or outright afraid, about how they will personally be treated when presenting their area of expertise, I strongly support the effort to achieve a higher level of professional conduct and improved meeting management.”
We’ve been hearing complaints for a long time coming from inside and outside City Hall. The most complaints are about Park for being abusive.
But he’s not the only one. Councilmember Suds Jain and Raj Chahal are known as people who badger staff.
According to our sources, the last straw for City staff happened on June 8, 2021. That’s the meeting that Santana is talking about in her email above. That’s when Park was carrying water for the 49ers on the stadium end zone seats issue.
Park was criticizing and interrupting staff more than usual. But it was a 49ers issue so that’s not a huge surprise.
Park, Jain, and Councilman Anthony Becker were elected after 49ers owner Jed York spent a whopping $3 million to support them. And they’ve been supporting the team since they were elected.
At that June 8 meeting, Santana warned Park about his abusive behavior. The words in parenthesis below are added for clarity.
“I would really ask for you to be respectful about your comments. That term “fud” (which you used) is not popular whether it’s spelled f-u-d or f-u-d-d. And I take exception to the derogatory nature (of your comments) of staff’s presentations and the comments that I’ve made. I think they’re unprofessional. I think they’re unbecoming (for you) as a councilmember. And I would like to talk with you privately and with the council separately on this matter later on.”
For those of you wondering, F-U-D stands for Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. Maybe those are good nicknames for certain Councilmembers.