After city manager drama, Antioch mayor blasts police department and “entrenched,” racist status quo

In the wake of yet another vote on the fate of the city’s manager, Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe framed his leadership as a battle against a deep-rooted and racist status quo.

“Every day I’m bombarded with some of the vilest and most disgusting racially motivated attacks,” Thorpe said at a Friday press conference, flanked by department heads and District 3 Councilmember Lori Ogorchock. “The status quo in this city is so entrenched in the idea that Antioch is a place for a few, and not a place for everyone to enjoy.”

“This is why it’s so important to find like-minded partners as part of our administration.”

Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe holds a news conference at city hall on Friday to announce that the city council has placed City Manager Cornelius “Con” Johnson on administrative leave. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group) 

The remarks came after the Antioch City Council voted unanimously to place City Manager Cornelius “Con” Johnson on paid administrative leave during a closed session Friday morning. The move was expected after the council made the same decision at a Tuesday meeting that may have been in violation of California’s meeting laws. Those laws require personnel matters to be listed on the agenda before any such votes are taken; Tuesday’s session was not. Friday’s meeting was then called to redo the vote.

The council did not state their reason for putting Johnson on leave.

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On Friday, the council appointed Forest Ebbs, the city’s community development director, as acting city manager.

Thorpe said he met with all department heads–minus Johnson–on Wednesday to tell them that they have his full support.

A file photo from Aug. 2022 of Antioch interim city manager Cornelius Johnson. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group) 

“We need to be on the same page that Antioch’s government will work for every single resident,” Thorpe said. “We can’t realize our vision without a united team of administrators.”

Thorpe identified the Antioch police department as emblematic of the city’s problems, saying that, when he took office in 2021, the department “operated under the idea that they reported to nobody”. He said police reform would be one of his top priorities moving forward.

“We are not the Wild West,” Thorpe …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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