Residents Speak Against Alleged Call for Planning Director's Resignation

Half Moon Bay Planning Director Steve Flint extolled at council meeting.

In the wake of the alleged call by Half Moon Bay City Manager Laura Snideman for the resignation of Planning Director Steve Flint, several Half Moon Bay residents took the opportunity at Tuesday night's City Council meeting to praise the contributions of Flint over his near 7-year term.

The Half Moon Bay Review reported on Monday that Snideman asked Flint to submit his resignation no later than Tuesday night's council meeting.

The named cause for the city's alleged action has not been disclosed by councilmembers, Snideman or Flint.

Both Flint and the city would not comment at Tuesday's meeting on whether he had submitted a letter of resignation.

"All I can say is that there is an active personnel matter with Steve Flint," Snideman said Tuesday night.

Six residents, including Flint's wife Kendall, delivered comments in support of the Planning Director to Mayor Allan Alifano, Councilmember Marina Fraser and Councilmember John Muller.

"I worked with Flint for his entire tenure," said Tom Roman, Half Moon Bay Planning Commissioner. Roman specified that his comments were being made from his perspective as an individual and not as a planning commissioner.

"He’s shepherded a number of projects through the community," Roman added, naming the CCWD pipeline replacement, the , and the as examples.

The alleged call for resignation comes a few months after a San Mateo County court was announced in November in favor of resident Jimmy Benjamin for a lawsuit filed against the city. Judge Julie Conger wrote a decision which agreed with the plaintiff's allegation that Half Moon Bay violated the California Coastal Act in 2009 when it cleared a drainage ditch of vegetation classified as endangered species habitat without obtaining a Coastal Development Permit first.

Judge Conger's decision — which involved fining the city $1,000 a day for each day the violation of the California Coastal Act persisted — could translate into over $1 million in fines for Half Moon Bay.

According to The Half Moon Bay Review, the city still has an opportunity to settle the case with Benjamin since Conger's previous ruling was not final.

"I'm not sure how this whole thing has come about," said Harry Ysselstein to the assembled councilmembers. "I’ve looked at what he [Flint] has accomplished, his committment to this community and frankly, are we looking for a scapegoat here?"

"And if we are, who’s the right scapegoat?" Ysselstein continued. "I can’t answer that question when you look at someone doing this for seven years doing what Steve has done and up until now, everything has been copacetic. I understand the [Kehoe] Ditch...and a lot of details haven’t come out and what Judge Conger said I understand, but the veracity of what she said is open for discussion."

Kendall Flint said that she and her husband have received over 20 phone calls each from concerned members of the community over the last few days.

"People who I never have thought would have supported Steve were pissed," she said.

"At this point Steve has entered into a discussion with the city and they are working towards a resolution," Kendall Flint said.

"We’re not leaving Half Moon Bay but we may not be here in the same capacity," she said.

Snideman said that she could not provide comment on when she anticipates the matter will be resolved.

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Brian Ginna February 22, 2012 at 07:40 PM
George - he is the type to get a big settlement of the City's money (which, of course, is our money) and donate it to some pet organization of his. And he wants his attorney's fees as well. Just look at his quote from the Review's article: "I have not proposed a settlement condition that requires the resignation of Steve Flint," he wrote. "Steve's employment with the city is a matter between him and the city manager with oversight of the City Council." Oh, good to know that he is not demanding a resignation. Well, at least he is not admitting that he may or may not have asked that Flint resign. Why anyone would trust Mr. Benjamin or his motives regarding any subject is a mystery to me. He has zero credibility. All we need to do is look at the archives of Jim Grady's home approval. Yeah, the one with the ditch that WAS running right beside . Why did Mr. Benjamin not have a problem then?
George Muteff February 22, 2012 at 08:21 PM
Let us not forget that Mr Benjamin will be contributing to the final result - the fine. Whatever the City ends up paying (for the fine alone) will be another bill paid by us. Like it or not, in that regard Benjamin is one of us. That's part of the oddity of the whole affair, but then we're talking Jimmy Benjamin. Mr Benjamin and myself have butted heads many times in disagreements on many issues. I know Benjamin to be very bright and very articulate. I also know Benjamin can be a huge pain and you can find your own location for that pain, but I suspect we all have a good idea where that might be. I also know Mr Benjamin to carry an ego and to love attention, even if it perceived as bad attention. Just look at his ragging and complaining over the tsunami sirens...well... not all of them; as luck would have it, his concern seemed to be solely centered on the siren near his abode. Coincidence, I'm sure. This ditch matter is another in a string of complaints, that Benjamin has had a part in. I doubt he'll turn down any green (not enviro green, either) that may be tossed his way, but to be immortalized in martyrdom as a savior of HMB, saving it from itself, well now that sounds more like the Jimmy we all know and love - don't you think? I doubt we will ever get the straight skinny on the Flint matter; personnel issue and all, but it sure does smell nasty. Just doesn't add up.
George Muteff February 22, 2012 at 08:21 PM
One more sliver of pertinent data: In the 6 & 1/2 years that Flint has been HMB Planning Director, he has not had one performance review; Not One! That alone has to tell anyone with even passing interest how things work around here.
George Muteff February 22, 2012 at 08:31 PM
Oh, while all this (and more) is going on, did you happen to look at the Agenda for last night's Council meeting? Links don't work well on this blog, but if you go to www.hmbcity.com, hit 'view calendar' (on the right) and left click City Council meeting on 2/21, the Agenda will pop up. The very last Item, Item 13 titled "Approve City Council Code of Responsible Practices" is worth a look. Check out the staff report on this one. What does that tell us?
Acela Sarabia April 18, 2012 at 02:37 PM
Why not just bottom line the meaning of this issue.


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