Wildwood dismisses complaint against city clerk

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WILDWOOD —City Commission voted June 9 to dismiss a complaint against City Clerk Chris Wood that was filed by the previous administration.

“The new commission decided not to pursue the matter any further,” said Wood.

City attorney Dorothy Garrabrant said that the “several of the claims were not in the best interest of the city to pursue.”

In December, former commissioner Edward “Chip” Harshaw has filed a complaint with the state, asking to remove Wood from his position with the city.

According to the complaint, Wood failed to “efficiently perform his duties as municipal clerk” and alleges insubordination and refusal to cooperate with city business.

The allegations state that since April 2009 until December 2010 Wood has been insubordinate to then-Mayor Gary DeMarzo and business administrator Dale Goodreau, made disrespectful comment in a number of e-mail correspondences and refused to cooperate with the city’s attorney at the time, Dan Gallagher.

Wood allegedly e-mailed DeMarzo, “I challenge you to ‘man up,’ and accept my offer to meet with you face to face to resolve these and other issues. Until that time, I will no longer reply to any correspondences issues by you – it’s futile, it’s pointless, and, quite frankly it’s beginning to bore me. Face-to-face is the only way it’s gonna happen for me here on out. That’s where it’s at.”

One issue that was brought up in the complaint was that Wood refused to use the city’s new software system until he received the increase in wage.

“The software was purchased in December by the mayor. Since that time, nothing has happened. No training. No point person. No one consulted me or asked if this would be a good purchase. Nothing. Just a $30G waste of money...I will not use, but into or train with the NOVUS system until the financial issues surrounding my employment are settled to my satisfaction,” Wood allegedly said in an e-mail to Goodreau on Aug. 13, 2010.

Wood had denied the allegations. His attorney, Colin Bell argued that the city had “selectively quoted certain documents out of context and misconstrued the import of various administrative and judicial determinations.”

Since the complaint was filed, a new government was voted into office. And Goodreau and Gallagher have been removed from their positions within the city.

Prior to the May election, a hearing was still being held on the state level.

“The hearing still had a number of dates scheduled,” said city attorney Marcus Karavan.

He said the settlement hasn’t been finalized yet by a judge’s signature, but he said “in vague terms both the city and Wood would be walking about with something. Which is the sign of a good settlement.”

Karavan said he expects the settlement to be signed in two weeks.

“The city isn’t going spend any more resources on this,” Karavan added.


Lauren Suit can be e-mailed at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or you can comment on this story by calling 624-8900, ext 250.


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