Special letter from former city councilwoman Mote

To My Former City Council Colleagues,

I have now heard from several prominent members in our community about Mr. Sund’s complete lack of professionalism in what is being dubbed “The F Meeting.” I write to you today to remind you, while his abusive behavior towards his colleague was appalling and inexcusable, this was not his first time that he has shown his true colors and most likely won’t be his last.

To refresh your memory with some key dates:

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

The date I called for a closed session discussion of Mr. Sund’s performance, based on feedback that was brought to me and Councilmember Herrick involving Mr. Sund’s aggressiveness and disrespectful treatment towards one of his colleagues at a public meeting in December 2022, as well as additional comments. The closed session was held February 8, 2023. I can only say it was incredibly unproductive and disappointing, and I was unable to share the full extent of my notes.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

The date I had tea with the same Councilmember on this City business topic so I wouldn’t break the Brown Act, shared additional feedback from my personal experiences with Mr. Sund, and asked for guidance on how to handle the situation.

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

The date of Mr. Sund’s uncalled-for temper tantrum when he essentially kicked me and Planning Commissioner Holoubek out of City Hall. We both documented the incident, mine especially focused on Mr. Sund’s behavior. He was “aggressive,” “argumentative,” “irate,” and “condescending,” with a “defensive stance,” “clenched hands,” and “loud voice,” just a brief picture of the bullying we experienced from him that morning. Even if someone is caught off-guard or surprised, no normal person acts like that, especially in a professional role and in the office. And to one of his bosses. No excuses.

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

The date of Mr. Sund’s annual evaluation in closed session. I strongly encourage you to look back at my preparation for this meeting.

And finally, Wednesday, February 14, 2024

The date I resigned, with nearly 10 months left on my term. Is this typical of someone who had worked so hard to earn that seat and was previously one of the City’s biggest cheerleaders? There was no exit interview done and none of you reached out to find out why. That to me meant you all knew and did not give an F. As a result of all this, I am also uprooting my family and moving away from this amazing community that we both gave 110% to for the past 7 years. Why? Because I never want to see Mr. Sund nor any of you again. Ever.

There are so many more examples of the adversarial treatment I received from Mr. Sund and I did my best to try to communicate it to all of you, mindful of the rules and unreceptive atmosphere. It is not acceptable for a Councilmember to have to say several times that she is so uncomfortable with her City Manager that she stopped 1-1 meetings with him. NOT acceptable. Under any circumstances. No excuses.

For a long time, I felt like the problem was me. I can’t tell you the relief I felt, but also the sadness, to hear that more people are stepping up to share their terrible experiences with Mr. Sund, despite their fear of retaliation. If he abuses a boss, his colleagues and community members in this way, how is he treating your City staff? What kind of environment are they working in? How many more people are you going to lose? Or worse?

And this is all just about his behavior, not any of his other unethical and lacking skillsets.

My hope is that you start fostering an environment where people feel safe, trusting, and comfortable enough to tell you the truth about what’s going on. Don’t shame them or make them feel like they were responsible. Earn their confidentiality and keep their anonymity. Actually listen to understand. Get rid of the handcuffing rules so you can do your jobs. Focus on seeing his actions, his behaviors, how he is handling himself as your half-million-dollar public employee, as someone who is supposed to be a leader. Please put a stop to this before it’s too late. Otherwise, to use Mr. Sund’s own words, you’re F***ing incompetent.


Bynette Mote

Former City Councilmember, District 5 and Soon-To-Be Ex-Big Bearian

(805) 233-4034