Mayor Houk at heart of Pendleton's problems

It seems to me the only voice being heard publicly regarding the contention in the city leadership over Larry Lehman, Jill Thorne, Mayor Houk, etc., are those favoring the dismissal of Lehman, and supporting Thorne. The handling of these matters in the East Oregonian has been decidedly and blatantly biased.

It leaves the impression that most citizens in Pendleton agree with Mayor Houk's comments and the so-called "unfair treatment" of Jill Thorne. We are not all in agreement.

There are many things I take issue with in these matters, but the only thing I wish to point out here is the behavior of Mayor Houk. His comment to the effect that if Larry Lehman resigned, all this contention would go away is merely another factor in demonstrating Mayor Houk's poor leadership.

A true public leader seeks to settle issues and disputes, but instead Mayor Houk is fueling this contention.

His betrayal and ambush of Larry Lehman is inexcusable. How could anyone work for or trust a public official who demonstrates he will betray confidences? Whether Lehman should or should not have said what he did is not the issue for me.

To me, the greater issue is Mayor Houk's mishandling of it and thereby exacerbating an already situation.

If there is correction or discipline needed in any staff member, it should be handled privately and discreetly, not in front of the staff member's peers, and certainly not in the public arena.

Mayor Houk's criticisms of the city's staff are grossly inappropriate for a city leader. His comments and lack of public support for Lehman undermines the City Manager's effectiveness in doing his job, as it would for any staff member subjected to the same treatment.

I am not speaking to defend Lehman, but rather to point out the amateurish business ethics of an elected official.

I have heard no one ask the City Council why they made the decisions they made in regard to Jill Thorne, or why they support Lehman.

There's been plenty of criticism leveled the council, but no honest questions regarding their decisions.

Again, Mayor Houk could lead in this much better, but it seems to me that furthering his own political aspirations is actually his idea of "serving" the public.

Has he forgotten the incredibly small margin of his victory in his mayoral election? The city was greatly divided then over his ability to serve this city as Mayor, and I have seen no evidence to date that the right man was elected to office.

Rusty Kramer


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