Former city treasurer criticizes staff after losing position in primary election

He received 1,000 votes in the primary election only to lose his position after voters passed Measure G.

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In a June 8 article, Donlevy said that Sebastian’s role as treasurer had evolved into that of an “emergency check signer,” and that he had reached out to Sebastian with an offer to keep him on as the city’s emergency check signer if he wanted to continue on. That comment apparently came before Donlevy and Sebastian had an opportunity to talk about what the position would look like in the future. In an e-mail with the Express shortly after the article appeared in print, Sebastian used a pejorative to describe Donlevy and threatened to renounce his position at the June 12 city council meeting with a statement to follow afterwards. Sebastian did appear at the meeting, but he didn’t renounce his seat. He didn’t speak at all. When the Express followed up several days later, cooler heads seemed to prevail — Sebastian said he wanted to wait until after the results had been certified before he offered further opinion. On June 21, the Yolo County Election’s Office released certified primary results showing Measure G had officially passed. That same day, Sebastian wrote an e-mail saying he was “hoping since I won the election that the council will consider me for the appointment.” They may have considered Sebastian, but they ultimately went with another candidate. In an e-mail after the appointment was announced, Donlevy wrote that Gunby was qualified to take on the role of treasurer because many of the job duties required of the city’s treasurer transferred to her role after the Office of Financial Management was created in 2004. “Shelly is unquestionably qualified to do the duties of city treasurer,” Donlevy said in an e-mail last week. “In her role as the Director of Financial Management, she has been doing those outlined in the Municipal Code — both treasurer and director — for almost 22 years with the city.” Sebastian, on the other hand, was largely relegated to “emergency check signer” who would pay the city’s bills whenever the official check signer was on vacation or otherwise unavailable. To that end, being “treasurer” was largely a symbolic title that didn’t carry much weight, and when the city’s clerk Nanci Mills announced her retirement earlier this year, the city decided to put Measure G on the ballot, which not only granted the city appointment power over the treasurer role but the clerk’s position too. But if the city treasurer’s duties fell under a different department, why have a city treasurer position at all? “We did not do away with the position at that time simply because there was no reason,” Donlevy said. Now it seems unlikely the city will do away with the position because the treasurer and the director of financial management are the same person. Gunby wasn’t initially recognized during the swearing in ceremony that took place at last Tuesday’s council meeting. After he left, Sebastian fired off an e-mail to the Express, making it known that Donlevy’s apparent slight of Gunby irked him. When asked why he didn’t speak at the meeting about his grievances, Sebastian responded that he didn’t want to ruin Gunby’s moment in the spotlight — “it wasn’t her fault,” he wrote. But he was still agitated by what he saw as the city administration’s transformation of a “tight knit city hall family” that had no room for “outsiders,” adding that “Donlevy is definitely the puppet master!” And he was unmoved when the Express pointed out that he was eventually recognized just before Biasi closed out the meeting, writing “figures they’d recognize me at the END.” Donlevy responded to Sebastian’s complaint about the lack of recognition of Gunby as treasurer by saying that the swearing in part of the meeting was “ceremonial” and that Gunby had been formally sworn in “many years ago” for her city position. “It’s really a non-issue,” Donlevy said, noting that Gunby was eventually added when Mills, who made a special appearance to conduct the swearing in ceremony, recognized Gunby at the last minute. As for honoring Sebastian’s work, Donlevy said it was always the intention of the city to formally recognize him. “On many occasions and by multiple people, we have outreached to Mike to try to discuss with him the situation and he declined,” Donlevy wrote, adding that such recognitions are scheduled and advertised in advance. “We will do that in the case of Mike,” Donlevy wrote. “We have a high regard for Mike and are grateful for his service.” Sebastian disputes that anyone from the city tried to reach out to him about formal recognition. “No, they NEVER discussed honoring me in any way,” he wrote in an e-mail. “The meeting I declined with Donlevy was his meeting to tell me they selected someone else…since when do you have to meet with someone to tell them thank you?!” It may not have been about the treasurer’s position or any plans to honor Sebastian for his service, but at some point, Sebastian and Donlevy did have a meeting. Both men confirmed that during this meeting, Donlevy extended to Sebastian an offer to stay on as an emergency check signer, and Sebastian accepted. Why that role couldn’t also come with the largely-symbolic title of city treasurer is really anyone’s guess.]]>

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