Thursday, January 12, 2012
Hasson says 'it's time for me to go'
When I spoke to Kuna planning director Steve Hasson last week, he expressed excitement about the La Pine city manager position but remained guarded about the possibility of staying in Kuna.
As most people know by now, Hasson has butted heads with newly elected Mayor Greg Nelson, who campaigned on a platform that included getting rid of Hasson, whom Nelson said has been anti-business through overly strict planning and zoning and business regulations.
Hasson said he still hasn’t met with Nelson to discuss what problems he has. “I don’t know what he’s heard,” Hasson told me last week. “I don’t know what his case is against me or what it’s founded on.”
Hasson said if he could discuss the perceived problems with Nelson, he might be able to address them and defend himself.
Nelson told the Kuna Melba News last month that he had “a world of evidence” against Hasson that he was prepared to bring to City Council if Hasson wouldn’t resign. Nelson mentioned a requirement to put in curb, gutter and sidewalk for a community garden proposal, a requirement to put in curb, gutter, sidewalk and a paved parking lot for a business that had put up an outdoor deck, among other complaints from business owners around town.
The icing on the cake might be a $36,600 sewer and water connection bill that Hasson has said Nelson owes from the construction of the Creekside Lounge and Peregrine restaurant.
Whatever the reasons, it appeared that Hasson’s employment was about to come to a head and might have gone to the City Council for consideration. “I don’t want to battle with the guy,” Hasson said last week, before his interview in La Pine. “But I don’t want to be chased out of here either.”
Fast-forward a week, and Hasson has struck a resigned tone. “It’s time for me to go, so it’s time for me to go,” he said Tuesday. “Kuna has been a good tour of duty for me. I’ve learned a lot about myself and I think I’ve done a lot to help this city.”
Hasson said he would rather bow out gracefully than create an ugly situation with the mayor and going before the City Council. He said he has felt pushback from the community, particularly over the past year or so when it came time to enforce code.
“This is a pressure cooker situation,” Hasson said. “It’s one thing to be the person to promulgate the laws, but then it’s another matter altogether to be the person who has to enforce those laws.
“And when you go in and enforce a law, then you get a black mark against you by someone in the community. You enforce enough laws and then you’ve got a lot of black marks against you. And then they start having a necktie party for you.”