County Commissioner David Brock Smith has submitted a public letter of apology to Brookings City Manager Gary Milliman following a series of complaints Smith filed with the state regarding city involvement in county business.
Milliman requested the letter through his attorney last week.
The issue began this spring during a flurry of activity surrounding a split-rate tax levy that eventually went on the May ballot — and failed — and to which the Brooking City Council was opposed.
The city sent a letter to the board of commissioners suggesting three alternatives to the county’s fiscal woes, among them a suggestion to change the form of county government from general law to home rule.
Home rule counties typically feature a board of commissioners that work on legislative issues and a manager or administrator who tackles day-to-day issues.
The city had its attorney, Martha Rice, draft a sample charter for use by any citizen interested in pursuing the issue and getting it on a ballot.
Smith then filed a complaint with the Secretary of State alleging that Milliman had directed Rice to draft the home rule charter for a possible change at the county level — and in doing so, was using city funds — taxpayer money — to pay Rice for that service.
In fact, Milliman merely made a recommendation for council the consider in a report. The council then approved having Rice draft a charter.
“I would like to acknowledge my error,” Smith wrote in a letter to Milliman Thursday. “It is clear that it was the Brookings City Council that authorized the expenditure of taxpayer dollars to craft the charter document and Manager Milliman only recommended the action.
“It is also clear that even though Manager Milliman researched charter documentation prior to the council meeting, he did not direct the city attorney to begin drafting the charter document prior to his recommended motion and subsequent council approval.”
The Curry Coastal Pilot contacted Milliman but he declined to comment.