Tom Butt
  E-Mail Forum – 2022  
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  Mayor Demnlus Johnson and Former City Manager Laura Snideman
February 3, 2022

The practice of Vice-mayor Demnlus Johnson executing agreements without City Council authorization while identifying himself as mayor (in this case me personally), is not limited to the most recent execution of a contract for legal services. An excerpt from the separation agreement with City Manager Laura Snideman is shown below.

There is substantial case law indicating that the agreement may be void.


Incidentally, it appears that former City Manager Laura Snideman may have subjected the clueless RPA City Council members to the scam of the year. On August 18, 2021, the City of Calistoga started looking for a new city manager. By early October, 2021, RPA members of the City Council were strategizing about removal of Snideman, and that was becoming public knowledge. The RPA members were channeling concerns of public employee unions about Snideman’s austerity warnings as well as the growing number of funded but unfilled city jobs, at that time in excess of 100.

Seeing the handwriting on the wall, Snideman was probably already looking for another job, and the City of Calistoga had already advertised the perfect job for her in mid-August 2021.  By the time the City Council got around to approving a separation agreement on November 9, 2021, with a 6-1 vote in closed session with only me dissenting, Snideman had likely already applied for the city manager job in Calistoga. Meanwhile, the City Attorney’s Office had successfully frightened the gullible RPA City Council members into believing that Snideman would gin up some justification for suing the City over her termination, so they fell all over themselves to mitigate that, including offering $350,000 in separation pay and trying to make me retract anything negative I may have said about her in the past.

Only about two months after Snideman was officially terminated in Richmond, she miraculously emerged as Calistoga’s new city manager, conceivably laughing all the way to the bank, flush with $350,000 form the City of Richmond in addition to her $250,000 Calistoga salary and gushing, ““I’m thrilled for both personal and professional reasons to have an opportunity to serve in such a great community," The Weekly Calistogan reported, “Snideman spent part of her childhood living in St. Helena and recalled attending parades and special events in Calistoga. She has lived Upvalley for the past eight years.”

There is nothing the RPA City Council member like more than wasting and giving away taxpayer’s money for lost causes and imaginary crises.