City clerk resigns with colorful email

CHANNING JOSEPH
Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A Northern California city official has resigned from her post as city clerk in a scathing email accusing city council members of “misogynistic jokes” and “pathetic pandering” and sarcastically wishing them the best of luck finding “some schmuck” to take her place.

Kim Lehmkuhl, 34, who was elected as Pleasant Hill’s clerk in 2012, had been criticized for months for sending out Twitter updates during city council meetings rather than taking minutes, and a group of residents had even been calling for her removal from office. In March, the council had agreed to place a measure on the November ballot to change the clerk’s position from an elected one to an appointed one.

Lehmkuhl made those efforts moot on Monday, announcing that she had accepted a new job in Washington, D.C.

“This has been an atrocious, incredibly depressing, and mind-numbingly inane experience I would not wish on anyone,” wrote Lehmkuhl in the message addressed to Pleasant Hill’s mayor and its city manager. “I wish the City the best of luck in finding some schmuck eager to transcribe every last misogynistic joke, self-indulgent anecdote, and pathetic pandering attempt by Council.”

Lehmkuhl wrote that council meetings were frequently gummed up with “tinfoil hat” conspiracies and racist comments from local residents.

In her message, she also said sardonically to June Catalano, the city manager, “Best of luck with your imminent unfunded pensions scandal.”

Martin Nelis, a spokesman for the City of Pleasant Hill, shared the letter with the Associated Press on Tuesday.

Initially, Pleasant Hill Mayor Timothy Flaherty had replied graciously to Lehmkuhl’s resignation, writing, “Your decision is best for you and for the City of Pleasant Hill.”

But at the council meeting Monday night, he was less diplomatic, according to Nelis, saying, “Our municipal nightmare is over.”

Calls and emails to Lehmkuhl on Tuesday afternoon were not immediately returned.

Nelis said Lehmkuhl’s failure to produce minutes had been a source of friction, and he believes this is the first instance of a city clerk resigning in the middle of her tenure.

“It’s been an embarrassment, if anything, for the city,” Nelis said.

Pleasant Hill is a community of roughly 30,000 people, about 28 miles northeast of San Francisco.

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