A benign press release was sent from Fortuna's City Hall this week announcing Duane Rigge's contract as City Manager was up for renewal and that he and the Council would be negotiating his contract. News Channel 3 and the Times-Standard ran the blurb as filler--and rightly so. It seemed a non-starter item. Not so fast, Above The Fold wondered, why send a press release about something the sounds routine?
As it turns out, if the Council was prepared to renew Rigge's contract they would have done so automatically and it would have happened without fanfare with maybe an announcement that it had been renewed. The real reason for the release was to let people know what's been going on in closed sessions on employee evaluations.
The Council is NOT prepared to renew Rigge's contract as it stands now, if at all. Rigge's current contract has the super-majority clause that he cannot be fired without a 4-1 vote (put in place by a very different Council a few years ago)
However, at contract time, it only takes a 3-2 vote to not renew the City Manager's contract. There are rumblings at City Hall about how certain employee issues have been handled and certainly other issues that we're not privy to.
No other outlet is letting you know the story behind the story, so ATF will have to be your source until the real story is picked up.
UPDATE***Cheryl Nicholson (former Assistant City Manager and we're not sure what her title had been changed to) was let go by City Manager Rigge today. Big loss to the City of Fortuna as she was one of the few people willing to give straight answers and look out for the well-being of the City.