Political Notebook

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Holiday tensions

Even an annual Christmas party couldn’t escape the heightened political tensions in city politics this year.

City Councilwoman Liz Brown, R-at-large, on Dec. 16 sent an email to Clerk Sandy Kennedy, questioning her annual holiday open house. Kennedy, a Democrat, was co-hosting the events with outgoing Democratic council members Karen Goldner and Tim Pape, Brown alleged.

“I see that you are hosting this open house with the two outgoing council members who are Democrats, although the Clerk is not supposed to ’play favorites’ with respect to the Council...I thought you served us all...iPads and all?” she wrote.

Brown and Kennedy have had a rocky relationship for some time, especially as Brown worked actively with Repulican Zach Bonahoom to oust the long-term Democrat this fall.

Kennedy’s staff supplies food for the open house every year, an event attended by people of both political parties historically. This year's party was attended by several council members. It is done on city time, but Kennedy said her staff also ensures the office remains open during the event.

Kennedy responded on Monday via email, writing Pape and Goldner asked her if they could help with the event. She said if Brown wanted to join them, she was sure they would allow it.

“I have never played politics with city council members and I’m sure they will agree with that...when you come to our "Open House" (and I hope you will) you will see that this has nothing to do with politics,” Kennedy wrote. “All the years of my working as a public servant, I’ve never been questioned as you’re questioning me...I’m really sorry that you feel this way about me.”

Brown thanked Kennedy for her response in a Monday email, and then she began questioning her about other expenses related to the clerk’s office. It even appeared she tried to one-up Kennedy’s holidy cheer in her farewell.

Kennedy ended her response with, “May the beauty of this season bring you many special joys.”

Brown finished her final message with, “Merry Christmas to you and all your staff. May the grace and blessings of Jesus' birth fill your heart.”

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