WALNUT CREEK -- While the majority of the council Tuesday described City Manager Ken Nordhoff as an excellent leader, praising his management style and saying he deserves a raise, one council member said the city's top chief should resign and has broken the public's trust.
In a blunt and a searing rebuke of Nordhoff, City Councilman Justin Wedel launched into a verbal attack. he said that, based on the city manager's handling of a scandal involving a city employee and abuse at the Lesher Center in 2012, he has proved to be untrustworthy.
"To be clear, the city manager lied directly, or though admission, to me, other council members, to the council as a whole, and to the community, breaking the city's long-standing trust with the community," Wedel said.
 Walnut Creek City Manager Ken Nordhoff, 2010.
This is all fallout from the handling of Lesher Center employee Jason Pedroza, fired in 2012 for inappropriate behavior with teenage girls. This eventually led to internal and criminal investigations into fellow employees' possible failure to report child sex abuse to Walnut Creek police. Last year, Pedroza pleaded guilty in Contra Costa Superior Court to child sexual abuse charges.
While all city employees were cleared of any wrongdoing, and four placed on paid leave by Nordhoff were later brought back, an independent investigation report revealed Nordhoff and others knew of accusations against Pedroza earlier than council members originally thought. Some of the affected employees have since resigned.

"While you may disagree completely with many, if not all of my statements, there is no denying the fact that you have outright failed, by your own admission, in the moral and ethical foundation necessary for your position," he said.
While many in the city have worked to move on, Wedel brought all of this up again Tuesday as the council decided whether or not to give Nordhoff a 2.5 percent raise, making his yearly salary $225,030. In the end, the council voted 4-1 to give him the raise -- but not before Wedel implored Nordhoff to resign.
For his part, Nordhoff sat silently. But other council members shook their heads during many of Wedel's comments and blasted his remarks as untrue.
Councilwoman Cindy Silva, on the council when Nordhoff was hired, said he has exceeded expectations. She called him ethical, open and honest, but said she made her decision to give him a raise because of all he has done for this city and what the community's achievements have been under his tenure. She cited everything from improved fiscal strategies to economic development to a fully staffed police force.
"All of this couldn't have been done and achieved without your leadership," Silva said. "We hear repeatedly from your city staff ... that you are the city manager that they want to work for."
Wedel alleged that he and former Mayor Kristina Lawson have tried to prevent "the spectacle that will be occurring here tonight" for months. The decision on Nordhoff's contract occurred at the first meeting after the departure of Lawson, Wedel noted, "removing an additional voice of dissension against the city manager."
Lawson had been vocal in the past, criticizing Nordhoff's handling of the Lesher Center crisis.
New Councilman Rich Carlston said he couldn't comment on Wedel's views on the "Pedroza matter" because he was out of town on a religious mission when that occurred. He pointed out that there are now proper mandated reporting policies in place in Walnut Creek. And from his interactions with Nordhoff he finds his leadership to be inclusive and his service warrants a pay increase. Carlston also noted that the executive staff has received a 5 percent salary increase over the last few years, while Nordhoff has received none.
Wedel later shot back that even though Carlston may not have been in town during the Pedroza investigation, an independent report specifically said Nordhoff was evasive.
"We need to be setting the ethical standard that you are to tell the truth, you are to be forthright and honest and most importantly that you need to follow through with the most important assets of our community, our children," Wedel said.
Mayor Bob Simmons said he flatly disagreed with Wedel's characterization of events as well as his description of Nordhoff's actions.
In the past, Nordhoff has said he never intentionally lied or misled anyone in regards to the Pedroza investigation. Nordhoff's new contract and raise begin Jan. 1.
Contact Elisabeth Nardi at 925-952-2617. Follow her on Twitter.com/enardi10