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JOE JANIS, San Clemente

Councilmember Laura Ferguson boasts of being a taxpayer advocate. Since she was elected, Ferguson and her attorney have constantly criticized city management and our city attorney for the rising costs of legal fees. 

What they have failed to acknowledge is their actions (including their constant requests for public records) have greatly contributed to our rising fees. Her attorney has sued our city on a number of occasions and is now representing Ferguson as she threatens to bring suit against the city. Taxpayer advocates?

In my opinion, it was Ferguson’s false allegations at open council meetings and her damaging posts on Facebook about ex-City Manager James Makshanoff that caused him to file suit against the city. Other members tried to counsel her on the ramifications of her actions, but she refused to follow their advice. Due to her unfounded public comments and social media posts, we could not successfully defend this lawsuit. 

Ferguson has not learned by her mistakes. In open forum, she accused our current acting city manager of creating a hostile work environment and stated there is bad blood between them. She has posted articles on her social media page accusing him of the same. I expect her actions will cause more undefendable litigation to be filed against the city.

During her time on council, Ferguson has not been able to work with any councilmember or any city manager. Not Steve Swartz, Dan Bane, Chris Hamm, Gene James, Kathy Ward, James Makshanoff, Bob Dunek, nor Erik Sund.

Making unfounded negative allegations about our city managers or other councilmembers is unethical, disruptive and, as we have seen, very costly. Ferguson seems to have alienated everyone she works with. Her reckless management style deserves censuring.

Councilmembers are elected to serve on our city council, to collaborate with one another and to govern our city. They are not elected to place blame on our city’s management team or on other councilmembers. 

Above all, councilmembers are not elected to file lawsuits against the city. If Taxpayer/Advocate Ferguson and her attorney would stop this blatant hypocrisy, they will find the cost of our legal fees will go down.

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