City Clerk Quits, Wishes Pleasant Hill Good Luck Finding “Some Schmuck” to Do the Job

Monday, May 26, 2014
Kim Lehmkuhl

The city of Pleasant Hill—pop. 30,000, northeast of San Francisco—is looking for a new city clerk, and according to the former city clerk that might not be an easy task.

Kim Lehmkuhl, 34, resigned last week from her $7,000-a-year, part-time job with an epic rant in an email to the City Council that denounced its misogyny, racism and “NIMBY asshattery” while wishing them luck “finding some schmuck” to take the job.

Lehmkuhl, who said she left to take a job with the Washington, D.C.advocacy group “Work America,” wrote:

 “This has been an atrocious, incredibly depressing and mind-numbingly inane experience I would not wish on anyone. I wish the city the best of luck in finding some schmuck eager to transcribe every last misogynistic joke, self-indulgent anecdote and pathetic pandering attempt by council, and every tinfoil hat conspiracy theory, racist aside, and NIMBY asshattery from the lovely council meeting frequent flyers, without which, surely our democracy could not flourish.”

Lehmkuhl has been under fire by the City Council since her election in 2012 and was the subject of a recall campaign in her final days. At a meeting in January, council members complained bitterly that she had not published minutes from a single meeting, a key part of her job, for more than a year.

There was some question about the legality of not producing minutes of the public meeting, but there was no question that council members found it more difficult to do their jobs without official notes of previous meetings.

Lehmkuhl acknowledged her meager output, produced a quarter-year’s bunch of summaries and blamed her inexperience—it was her first year in office—and staff confusion over the best way to inform the public. She said agendas and results of votes were regularly posted, and videos of the meetings were available online.

For those who were social media savvy, she tweeted the meetings live in some detail.

Some of those details didn’t set well with council members. She was not shy about tweeting her opinions of the proceedings and its participants. That Twitter account has been deactivated, but not this one.

When confronted in January with her less-than-stellar performance at producing meeting minutes, she told the Contra Costa Times, “I didn't run for this job to be a stenographer; I ran for this job because I do believe in government transparency and I want to make a product that's actually useful. I'm totally owning that I have not lived up to expectations for the timeliness of the work product.”

–Ken Broder


To Learn More:

Tweeting City Clerk Resigns with Colorful Email (by Channing Joseph, Associated Press)

Former California City Clerk Quits: "Best Of Luck in Finding Some Schmuck" to Fill Job (by Mayra Cuevas, CNN)

Pleasant Hill Officials Claim City Clerk Not Doing Her Job (by Christien Kafton, KTVU)

Pleasant Hill City Clerk Goes a Year without Producing Council Minutes (by Lisa P. White, Contra Costa Times)

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