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City of Geneseo

GENESEO — Opponents of Geneseo City Administrator Lisa Kotter want her removed from her job.

About 200 people at a Tuesday night meeting at the Sugar Maple Golf Club heard organizers say they will seek petition signatures calling for Ms. Kotter’s removal.

The group plans to present the petitions at the May 8 Geneseo City Council meeting. Organizers say they already have 500 names and hope to secure 1,000.

“The petition shows the mayor and aldermen that we don’t like her. She’s not a good fit for the city of Geneseo,” meeting organizer Karen West said. “We’re hoping that it makes a huge impact on them.”

Geneseo Mayor Kathy Carroll-Duda on Wednesday stood by Ms. Kotter.

“The city council and I fully support the job Lisa is doing,” the mayor said in a released statement.

“We appreciate the opinions of these residents,” Mayor Carroll-Duda said. “As leaders, we have been working hard to move our city forward, which includes the work of our elected officials, city administrator Lisa Kotter and our staff. Together we have accomplished many positive things.

“Even in the best of times, a city administrator in doing her duties will have to do and say things that people do not want to hear,” the mayor said. “However, we expect our city administrator to carry out her duties. And in the three years she has been here that is what she has done in a professional and ethical manner.”

Organizers of Tuesday’s meeting said the resignation of former Geneseo Police Chief Tom Piotrowski was the final straw. Mr. Piotrowski resigned after being placed on administrative leave by the city. People at Tuesday’s meeting said he should have been told about problems in his department and given six months to work on them.

“Those of us that were close to Mr. Piotrowski thought he was her No. 1 target,” Ms. West said of Ms. Kotter. “She took a good man and smeared his name.”

Ms. West said she could not “go in my house” without hearing a complaint about Ms. Kotter. “When these people started getting crushed by nothing but a bully, that’s what hurt the most,” Ms. West said.

Former Geneseo Mayor Nadine Palmgren also was critical of Ms. Kotter on Tuesday night, saying Ms. Kotter was hired with a two-thirds majority vote of aldermen after Ms. Palmgren vetoed the selection.

Ms. Palmgren said that since Ms. Kotter was hired Geneseo had been through three human-resource people, three accountants and three city attorneys. She also said a change in the city’s purchasing policy let the city administrator spend up to $20,000 without council approval.

Ms. Palmgren criticized several events related to Ms. Kotter, including the city’s expenditures for a Fourth of July beer tent and three bands, the expansion of Ms. Kotter’s city hall office, the purchase of new furniture and big screen TVs, a $168 beer tab from a golf outing, the city spending $40,000 for a new logo and the hiring of a comedy act to entertain city employees at the holidays.

“She’s not working in the best interest of the city,” Ms. Palmgren said. “I just don’t think her heart is in the right place knowing how to spend money. ‘Frugal’ is not in her vocabulary.”

Ms. Palmgren also said that, as mayor, she tried to suspend Ms. Kotter over a letter sent to Ward 3 residents but couldn’t.

“I called every alderman and the city attorney,” Ms. Palmgren said. “I as mayor could not even suspend her.”

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