With barely a day’s notice Saturday, the City of South Pasadena announced there will be a closed special session of the City Council Sunday, Sept. 13 at 4:00 pm during which the only agenda item will be a “public employment” matter concerning embattled City Manager Stephanie DeWolfe.
The announcement follows another special meeting the Council held Friday evening where a performance review of DeWolfe was one of two agenda items. That meeting began at 6:30 pm and did not break up until just before 10 pm. DeWolfe was present, as was the city attorney and human resources manager.
Friday’s meeting was the first closed session the Council has held since Sept. 2 when Stephen Rossi, a corporate finance expert riding a huge wave of public support, was selected and sworn in to fill the remaining term of Dr. Marina Khubesrian, who resigned after acknowledging responsibility for a set of toxic emails sent under false names attacking a Council colleague and citizens who criticized DeWolfe and Finance Director Karen Aceves for their handling of city finances. Aceves left the city for a family leave last month and it is unclear when or if she will return. Her departure came just as the city is preparing to issue its long overdue 2018-19 audit.
Several months before his appointment, Rossi and his wife Sheila released an analysis of the city’s proposed budget showing discrepancies totaling $14 million. In published comments, he accused DeWolfe of “significant errors and misrepresentations” concerning the budget and of seeking to “obfuscate” conversations about it.
DeWolfe, who is scheduled to begin the final year of a four-year contract with the city, could not be reached Saturday. A call placed to her was forwarded to an automated voice messaging system that said the number was not available and added, “the mailbox is full and cannot accept any messages at this time.”
Also at its Sept. 2 meeting, the Council got a report about a “Golden Handshake” program under which ten city employees, including DeWolfe, would be offered early retirement packages. The Council is set to vote on the program at its meeting Sept. 16.