Former Parks and Recreation Director Joe Simonson quietly retrieves tools

By Ed Martin, Editor

The strange saga of former Parks and Recreation Director Joe Simonson and his tools is over. According to Lemoore City Manager Andi Welsh, Simonson picked up his tools at the city’s corporation yard adjacent to the Cinnamon Recreation Center sometime last week.

“He has picked up most of his stuff,” said Welsh Friday afternoon. He retrieved the remainder of his tools after the close of the work day last week. Welsh said he did so with the city’s permission after city employees helped to identify which tools likely belonged to Simonson.

The former parks and rec director apparently picked up all his tools, because as of Friday, the city had not heard from Simonson.

Simonson was recently at odds with city officials after they refused him permission to retrieve what he said were tools he had stored there for many years. He said he had done so with the permission of former City Manager Allen Goodman.

According to city officials, Simonson was in the process of retrieving some of his tools, but when city officials were unable to verify that some tools indeed belonged to Simonson, they refused to hand them over.

Simonson recently settled with the City of Lemoore after three months of being placed on administrative leave. Simonson and the City agreed that he would retire and he would receive a $100,000 settlement from the city.

In an email he sent to councilmembers, city officials and The Hanford Sentinel recently, Simonson said that a former city manager allowed him to bring his tools to work so that he could do some in house projects.

“I was hoping to move on with my life and not have to have any further contact with the city of Lemoore,” stated Simonson in his email, “but I am unable to retrieve valuable personal property that I need to make a living.”

He said that he was a general building contractor before he joined the city. “When Allen Goodman was the city manager I brought many of my tools and supplies to the city with his approval and understanding that would enable me to complete projects in-house.”

Welsh acknowledged that there is no official policy of allowing city employees to store their personal tools at the work site in order to work on city projects. “We don’t have a policy that allows for that,” she said. “The city needs to provide and purchase them (if the job requires it).”

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