City administrator calls Wojcik's data request a 'form of intimidation'
Drama is unfolding at City Hall as the city's top administrator accuses a sitting council member of "intimidation."
Rochester City Council Member Michael Wojcik has filed a request under the Data Practices Act for all written correspondence over the past 60 days, or about 2,000 emails, from City Administrator Stevan Kvenvold. Under state law, the city is required to back up and preserve all email archives less than 60 days old.
In an email Friday to the Med City Beat, Wojcik wrote: "It is very possible that Mr. Kvenvold leaked a privileged conversation between myself and the city attorney. While I have much to say about this, I don’t want to make any further comments without learning more about the legal protections of this attorney conversation."
Wojcik declined to elaborate on what kind of information Kvenvold may have "leaked." Before the emails are released to Wojcik, they will be reviewed by the City Attorney's office to ensure the messages do not contain private or confidential information.
Kvenvold has responded to the request by issuing separate internal memos, one to the mayor and council and the other to the entire network of department heads. Kvenvold, who is set to retire this year after four decades with the city, called it a "form of intimidation" and a "harassing action by Mr. Wojcik and a parting shot to me as I exit the city organization."
"It is no secret that Council Member Wojcik and I have had differing view points on certain matters and Mr. Wojcik does not respond well to challenges to his initiatives or if he views that his directives are not being implemented," Kvenvold wrote.
He added, "Mr. Wojcik’s e-mail investigation does not represent a trusting work environment; it is more of an example of what could lead to a toxic work environment for those that are involved in the administration of the city organization."
This is the third time in the past several weeks that Wojcik has requested email correspondence from Kvenvold.
Wojcik, who won re-election to Ward 2 in November, is no stranger to controversy. He is the recipient of two ethics complaints, both of which are now under review. (Neither has been adjudicated.) And back in November, Council President Randy Staver called Wojcik "one of the most insolent people I have every worked with."
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Left to right: Kvenvold and Wojcik