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District 5 Supervisor Jon Kennedy is switching hats and stepping into the city of Portola as his other persona — professional consultant Jon Kennedy.
Interim City Manager Todd Roberts announced at the special City Council meeting Dec. 5 that as of Nov. 18, Kennedy and the city have entered a professional services agreement.
According to the agreement, Kennedy will provide assistance in public engagement, serve as a liaison to the public, ensure Brown Act compliance, respond to public records requests and encourage economic development.
“These are things that existing staff don’t have time to do,” said Kennedy. “This is the same stuff I would help anyone do.”
Kennedy is a certified conflict resolution mediator. He also works as a consultant for economic development for businesses in Lassen County.
Kennedy said he was involved with the city during the recent situation with its city manager. The city manager, Ian Kaiser, resigned Sept. 13 after being disciplined by the City Council for allegedly violating personnel rules.
Kennedy said the situation was good mutual learning experience for both him and the city. During that time, he said he began fielding some of the civic engagement in the city by helping answer questions and addressing issues.
Kennedy talked to Roberts and City Planner Karen Downs, and asked what tasks “are falling through the cracks” at City Hall that he might be able to help with.
“I’m not taking the place of a city manager at all,” he said. “I’m just helping the staff pick up the slack and get the city better prepared for their next manager.”
Kennedy will work for an hourly rate of $49 and the total amount paid to him will not exceed $5,000.
He will work with public records requests to make sure people get what they need and understand what the records mean. He said he would collaborate with the newly hired grant writer to highlight the things Portola might need most or what the city might qualify for.
He said he is particularly focused on economic growth in the city, and one of the ways he will try to foster that is through city-sponsored business assessments.
Kennedy said any business that might want an assessment can contact him and he’ll help examine the strengths and weaknesses of the business, and aid in constructing a business plan.
He explained that helping the city of Portola is important to him both professionally, as a county supervisor, and personally.
“The success of Portola is just as important as it is for Quincy or Graeagle or Chester,” he said. “It is just as important to make sure that Portola survives as it is the hospitals or the schools.”
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