Council asked to rescind resignation acceptance

Public lambastes T. Peterson, council

By Seth Schmidt

Several citizens asked the Tracy City Council to rescind their acceptance of City Administrator Madonna Peterson’s resignation Monday night.
“If you would have let members of the community speak at your last meeting on Sept. 19, you would have known that some of those citizens did not want you to accept her resignation,” said Shirley Anderson, during the public comment period of the Sept. 25 city council meeting. “Someone needs to find out exactly what Madonna meant” when she resigned and said she “cannot work under these conditions.”
Anderson said the council could “regain its integrity” by “rescinding” their Sept. 19 acceptance of Peterson’s resignation.
Rhonda Fredericks, a city planning commission member, demanded that the council “rescind the acceptance of Madonna’s resignation and talk to her.”
At the end of the public comment period, Anderson asked directly if the council would reconsider their acceptance of Peterson’s resignation.
Mayor Steve Ferrazzano responded “we cannot respond to that question now,” pointing out the council’s practice of taking statements from the public comment period under advisement, and deciding later whether further discussion or action is warranted.
Just before adjournment, council member Pam Cooreman asked if the council could discuss rescinding the acceptance of Peterson’s resignation.
Ferrazzano said the council “would need something in writing” indicating that Peterson is interested in returning to her position, before the council considered such an action.
Peterson resigned abruptly from her job on Sept. 14, writing that she could not “work under these conditions.” She is taking vacation days until Oct. 2, and is not expected to return to work. The council accepted her resignation on Sept. 19, and is seeking applicants for the vacancy.
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Sharp criticism was leveled at the council during the public comment period for its relations with the city administrator. Councilman Tony Peterson, who has become the subject of a petition drive to recall him from office, was singled out for especially pointed rebukes.
Rosemary Martin called councilman Peterson “a bully who needs to be recalled.” Martin blamed Peterson’s “continued overreach” of authority, and his creation of a “hostile environment” for Administrator Peterson’s resignation.
Martin charged that Councilman Peterson had “gone into our city office and behaved in a hostile manner towards Madonna Peterson.”
During her service on the planning commission, Martin charged that there had been times when Councilman Peterson had been “hostile towards me and behaved as a bully.”

For more on this article, see this week’s Headlight-Herald.