Councilwoman admits prescription drug use

Mary Goloff, Chico City Councilwoman
Mary Goloff, Chico City Councilwoman

Chico City Councilwoman Mary Goloff confirmed Tuesday that she has been receiving treatment for dependency on prescription drugs.

Goloff came forward at the council meeting and said she has no plans to resign.

The last City Council meeting that Goloff was present for was on Feb. 18. She said Tuesday that she wanted to explain her absence publicly to avoid any speculation about her health or her ability to serve.

She said that she began using prescription medication last fall following major hip surgery and made the decision on Feb. 27 to enter into a treatment program.

“Unfortunately, addiction is not a disease that discriminates,” Goloff saiid.”Quite the opposite, actually. It touches all kinds of people – even those elected to serve their communities with open hearts.”

Goloff is currently serving her second term on the City Council having been re-elected in 2010. Her fellow council members chose her to be mayor in December 2012, a post that she stepped down from last August because of unspecified health reasons.

Her current term will end in December and while she as no plans to run for re-election. Goloff said she will serve out the remainder of her term.

“I’m proud of my decision and I’m pleased to sit before you this evening and say that with the help of treatment,” Goloff said. “I’ve never felt better. I’ve never felt stronger and I’ve never felt more prepared to serve my community.”

Also on Tuesday, the City Council voted to authorize the city manager to issue a letter of intent to the International Association of Firefighters Local 2734, which starts the clock on the possibility of contracting out for city fire services.

The firefighter’s union contract has a provision that the city cannot entertain any options for contracting out fire services without giving a notice of three years. None of the other bargaining units have this provision in their contracts, said City Manager Brian Nakamura.

“This isn’t essentially an issue about contracting out,” Nakamura said. “What it is, is an equity issue that will bring fairness throughout all the bargaining units in the process.”

The staff report on this issue states that the benefits of locally controlled public safety has never been called into question, but now it feels like it is being called into question, said John Kelso, president of the firefighter’s union.

“By looking outside the city of Chico you are effectively stating that you are unable to, or unwilling to provide, full-service city government,” Kelso said.

The City Council also took action on the following items on Tuesday:

· Staff was directed to prepare a resolution on changes to the city’s user fee schedule in order to bridge a $1.1 million gap between the amount the city is charging for services and the actual cost incurred for providing them. The plan would transition all fees to 90 percent of the city’s cost and would be phased in over the next three years.

· A request to write off about $573,000 in housing loans issued by the city was approved. The properties were either foreclosed upon or went through a short sale and the city has no further legal remedy to collect on the loans.

· Recruitments were approved to hire for several different city jobs, including: three police officers, two public safety dispatchers, a human resources manager, a human resources analyst and a waste-water treatment plant operator.

Bill Hall can be reached at [email protected] or @thebillhall on Twitter.