Peterson: ‘Let’s get this over with, but don’t silence me’

TRACY CITY COUNCILMAN TONY PETERSON found himself on the defensive once again at Monday’s council meeting. Peterson is in the center of a conflict of interest dispute concerning Jeff Salmon’s position on the EDA board. Photo / Per Peterson

Tracy City Council votes 3-1 to censure embattled councilmember, as his employer fights myriad allegations

By Per Peterson

The Tracy City Council on Monday passed three motions in an effort to move forward on personnel issues that ultimately affect both the council and EDA board.

By a 3-1 vote, the council, citing conflict of interest, moved to censure councilman Tony Peterson in the matter of his employer, Jeff Salmon’s, position on the EDA board, with council members Jeri Schons, Kou Thao and Mayor Anthony Dimmers voting in favor and councilman Dave Tiegs voting against. The council also passed a motion to suspend Salmon from today’s EDA board meeting by the same roll call. The final motion was for Salmon to resign from the EDA board prior to a removal hearing set for today at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall that will determine if Salmon can keep his seat on the EDA board. That motion, too, passed with Schons, Thao and Dimmers voting in favor and Tiegs against. All three motions were made by Schons.

“Frankly, I’ve had a lot of people in my office saying they were tired of being in the paper for this kind of stuff and would like this issue resolved,” Tracy City Administrator Kris Ambuehl said. “I feel the council should make a decision and stick to that decision, regardless of what it is. And I don’t feel that everybody will agree.”

In the conflict of interest matter, Peterson continued to contend there wasn’t any, but admitted it might look like there is in the court of public opinion. However, he took offense to the notion that a conflict of interest is assumed just because he is Salmon’s employee.

“I find it repulsive when someone tells me I have a conflict without letting me explain my position,” he told the council. “I truly find it repulsive when someone says I can’t (take part) in any conversation on the issue because of a perceived conflict. That not only alienates my voice, but it alienates the voice of the people who put me here.”

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.