Pleasant Hill city clerk fails to produce council minutes for past year

The city clerk in Pleasant Hill is defending herself after critics say she should quit for not doing her job.
January 8, 2014 5:45:06 PM PST
A Bay Area city clerk is defending herself after critics say she should quit for not doing her job. Pleasant Hill City Clerk Kim Lehmkuhl has been sending a stream of tweets to her followers, while failing to produce council minutes for the past year. She was elected to the job last year.

It's the very first thing on the job description for the Pleasant Hill city clerk, to "keep accurate records of the proceedings of the city council." Lemhkuhl admits she hasn't done that very well, but says she does other things quite well.

"I take ownership absolutely of the lack of timeliness of getting that work product in," Lehmkuhl said.

The city clerk tells ABC7 news that she got the message.

"It was hard for me as a councilmember to go back and look at and understand the history of what we did," Councilmember David Durant said.

It came loud and clear from the mayor and city council that after a year on the job, she needs to start producing minutes from the council's meeting, perhaps rather than tweeting.

"I really take issue with the sort of idea that it's very easy to sort of contemporaneously record all of these minutes if I weren't screwing around on Twitter," Lehmkuhl said. "Unfortunately, I think that's really a misunderstanding of the medium."

The 34-year-old was elected to the $7,000 per year, part-time clerk's position in November 2012.

Until very recently though, Lehmkuhl failed to produce any minutes from a year's worth of meetings.

"The public expects and deserves to have those records available, the legislative history of the organization," Pleasant Hill resident Wendy Lack said. "Tweeting is no substitute."

City staff did try to get Lehmkuhl to produce minutes, even offered her training. But in a comment to the Bay Area News Group she said, "I didn't run for this job to be a stenographer. I ran for this job because I do believe in government transparency and I want to make a product that's actually useful."

Lehmkuhl is a prolific tweeter. Something she does throughout the often hours-long city council meetings to her 300 plus followers.

"The Twitter engagement has been great," she said. "And people who are working or are at home, are able to be part of the conversation."

Lehmkuhl says just this week she finished one-quarter of the past year's missing minutes. She says she'll make up the rest, in the weeks to come.


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