Talk about job interviews gone bad.
In an incredible display, City Councilwoman Kristen Sneddon on Tuesday night hammered Barrett Reed with a series of questions that came across more like an interrogation than an interview for the Santa Barbara Planning Commission.
“It’s about accountability for his record,” said Sneddon, who just a week ago defeated Reed in the District 4 City Council election by 1,600 votes.
Sneddon, an environmental geology instructor at Santa Barbara City College, drilled Reed with questions about the number of meetings he has missed, the number of properties he owns, whether he has any violations on his properties and whether he broke confidentiality by speaking to Human Resources about city personnel matters.
She even suggested that he called the entire council “failures” during the campaign, giving her pause as to why she should support him.
“Have you publicly discussed confidential HR matters naming staff by name, as a planning commissioner?” Sneddon asked.
She was alluding to the controversy over former transportation planner Rob Dayton, who went on a paid leave of absence before retiring.
“I have not broken confidentiality,” Reed responded.
Sneddon then said, “I believe you have.”
Then she said: “How many meetings have you missed?”
“I believe I have recused myself early on, which is also counted as an absence, from five items,” Reed said. “Of those, looking back, after consulting with the FPPC, I learned I didn’t need to recuse myself from all of those.”
Sneddon fired back: “OK, by my count you have missed 10 meetings, and I think it would be important to know if those are proper recusals or absences for other reasons.”
Reed then clarified: “Of those five that I mentioned, those were over multiple meetings, so it gets counted multiple times, but it is still the same item.”
Sneddon then was blunt: “How many meetings have you missed?”
Reed responded: “I don’t know. I would have to go back and look.”
Sneddon also brought up the tone of his comments during the campaign.
“You have multiple times called the entire council ‘failures, complete failures,’ and my question to you specifically is, why should we place our confidence in you when you feel we as a whole grouping are failures?” Sneddon asked.
Reed said in response, “I think those are your words, not mine.”
Earlier in the meeting, she forced Reed to answer questions about how many properties he owns or manages in the downtown area, as defined by the State Street Master Plan. At first he said three, but then his answer changed.
“In the entire area of the downtown master plan area, there are three properties that you manage or own,” Sneddon said.
Reed then said, “I believe that is correct. I don’t have that map in front of me, so I can’t answer it specifically.”
Sneddon then accused him of benefiting from an adaptive reuse ordinance, which he tried to push during the campaign.
“Do you own or manage properties that would benefit directly from an adaptive reuse ordinance,” Sneddon asked.
Reed said in response after a long pause, “It would depend on that ordinance.”
“So as a planning commissioner, you would be making decisions that may or may not directly benefit your holdings?” Sneddon asked.
In response, Reed said, “Potentially, yeah, and certain things that may have a benefit to me are also extended to everyone in the city and by definition is not a conflict.”
Sneddon told Noozhawk after the meeting that she was burned by Reed in the first interview when he was appointed to the Planning Commission and didn’t want that to happen again.
She also said she planned to ask similar question of other candidates, and she noted that she voted to reappoint Jay Higgins after he challenged in the City Council election four years ago, so it was not personal toward Reed.
Reed did not return Noozhawk calls or texts Tuesday night seeking comment.
City Councilman Mike Jordan had left the meeting early Tuesday night before Reed’s interview, but later watched the video of the meeting. He told Noozhawk that Sneddon’s line of questioning was “classless.”
“Apparently a council member isn’t going to turn the corner from an election, where we hear all kinds of rhetorical narrative from all sides, including hers, and move on to work collaboratively,” Jordan said. “Unfortunately, this is an ongoing characteristic of Ms. Sneddon. To say it is not personal is as ludicrous as it looked during real time. It seems constantly personal with her.”
Two seats are open for the Planning Commission.
— Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.