The City of Antioch is attempting to terminate its lease with Congressman Jerry McNerney so it can place its new Office of Community Resources.
McNerney’s office is located at 4703 Lone Tree Way at the Antioch Community Center where he pays $3,000 per month.
The January 25 Antioch City Council Agenda , it highlighted that City Council being asked to approve a resolution that creates a new class specification for a Community Resources Director with an annual salary (without benefits) is $149,808 – $182,076–with benefits up to $327,382 per year. This classification will plan, direct, manage, and oversee the activities and operations of the Community Resources Department which include, youth services, environmental resources, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG); unhoused resident services; community crisis intervention response; violence intervention and prevention; Animal Services; and code enforcement. Some of the duties include.
According to a Public Records Request, the City of Antioch provided 48-pages of email exchanges between city staff, the congressmen staff and communications with Emerald Consulting who also had their lease terminated. McNerney has been in the space ins 2013.
The move comes months after Antioch Councilmembers Monica Wilson and Tamisah Torres-Walker held a press conference stating tenants are being harassed and faced eviction while requesting a new protection ordinance.
On January 10, Parks and Recreation Director Brad Helfenberger sent an email stating the city was providing the Congressman with a Notice of Termination for their lease agreement – the Congressman has a lease through January 2, 2023. Helfenberger stated McNerney was to be out of the office by February 15, 2022 and to remove all furniture and equipment from the property.
In an exchange on January 11, McNerney’s Chief of Staff, Nicole Damasco, stated they believed its in the best interest of the residents of Antioch to remain in the space and recognized the lease would not be extended beyond January 2, 2023.
She also stated:
I have discussed this matter with the House of Representative’s Associate Administrative Counsel, Cecilia Daly. In her opinion, since the original 2013 lease, which has been extended without changes, does not include an early termination clause, section 10 does not apply.
On January 13, another email was sent by Damasco:
Attached please find Rep. McNerney’s response to the City’s January 10, 2022 letter. We have spoken with the House Administrative Counsel’s office who assure us that section 10 of the District Office Lease Attachment does not confer an early termination clause for either party, and that we are legally entitled to stay in our space until January 2, 2023.
Additionally, we have been informed that it will not be possible to relocate our office by February 15, 2022, even if we chose to move. This is because House rules require that the General Services Administration (GSA) arrange to move House-owned
furniture and equipment, and we are unable to coordinate with the GSA in the time allotted.
Even though we are legally entitled to stay in the space until the current lease expires, Rep. McNerney is amenable to working together to find a solution that will ensure the best services for the residents of Antioch.
On February 15, Antioch city Councilmember Lori Ogorchock sent an email to interim City Manager Con Johnson on questioning since he had only been city manager for approximately 15-days if he had ample time to vet the effects of terminating the lease early with a congressman—nor including the City Attorney.
“When did we start to look at the Community Center as a location for this new dept.? Why would we think that it would be ok to give a 30 day notice to a Federal elected official who has been there for quite sometime? Has the Congressman been there since we opened the Community Center?
Congressman McNerney sees our constituents there on a regular basis, and some of those individuals are our veterans. How much research have you completed into those who lease portions of that building? Since you have only been CM for a short period of time, 15 days (?), I would assume you’ve not had ample time to properly vet the effects of these actions, one example of this would be the city attorney not being a party to the emails being forwarded. When did you come up with the notion to use the Community Center for this dept.?”
“To be totally honest with you I am blown away by this move, not sure that I am happy about it either. We need to maintain an amicable relationship with the Congressman, to make sure he is in our community so that he is accessible to our community.”
As of February 8, 2022, its unclear if there has been any resolution according to the emails provided.
And the soap opera of incompetence continues…
Just dumb. Never a forethought to anything. The council moves like a bull in a china shop. How about putting some time and energy into reducing crime or restoring the appearance of neighborhoods by hiring an adequate number of code officers to enforce ordinances? I don’t know who these “bulls” are representing but it sure isn’t the citizens of Antioch.
The letter Antioch sent has the wrong year….
What kind of brain dead moron would think of evicting a sitting member of Congress? There’s only a year left in the person’s term. Surely this could have waited until the new person was elected and able to locate another office. This is just stupid
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