By Frank Lewis
A candidate for Portsmouth City Council is calling for the resignation of Portsmouth City Manager Derek K. Allen.
“I’m going to come out today and say I think there should be no more Derek Allen,” Shawn Stratton, candidate for the Sixth Ward Council seat, said. “I think Derek Allen should resign from his position and leave the city of Portsmouth. Derek Allen keeps increasing expenses on his people of Portsmouth and this is just the beginning of the greed by the city manager to remove more and more money from the pockets of the people of Portsmouth. My 10 year old can balance a budget by continuously taking more and more money from people. Mark my word. There will be more attempts in the future to increase taxes, increase water rates, increase sanitation rates.”
Stratton said he believes this is not the end of the current wave of increases
“There’s going to be more money asked for when this tax increase does not pan out as well as they had hoped,” Stratton said. “I believe Derek Allen is a carpetbagger. And that’s not my terminology. Many people have used that. He has no real interest in our city except to receive his huge paycheck. He takes no responsibility for his own actions as city manager and blames others for his incompetence – Jane Murray for example – and makes it a point to play politics instead of solving city business.”
Stratton said he wanted to give an example of something Allen doesn’t do.
“We have a business owner down on Second Street, by the name of Richard Howerton, Howerton Engineering,” Stratton said. “here is a local guy who opened a professional business on Second Street who invested a huge amount of money into that property. Our city manager refused to give him any work. Instead, our city manager uses Strand (Engineering) out of Columbus. Derek Allen has even ignored dozens of emails and calls by Mr. Howerton to meet with him about getting some city business. And just recently has actually met with Mr. Howerton. The people’s money is leaving our city and going to Derek Allen’s cronies in Columbus instead of creating jobs for local people and local businesses. Howerton Engineering is not given the opportunity for city business. Howerton Engineering is able to do the business for the city and Richard Howerton even says – ‘we are qualified and we can do it for cheaper than Strand is costing the city.’”
Stratton said contacting local companies for city work is “how we can grow our city.”
“Mr. Howerton is willing to hire more people to work down there on Second Street, instead Strand is hiring more people in Columbus,” Stratton said.
The Daily Times reached out to Allen who chose to make no comment on what Stratton has called for. The Daily Times was unable to reach Stratton’s opponent in the November election, Tom Lowe, but will carry a story about both candidates prior to the general election.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.