City Council wants to quickly extend the City Managers Contract by two years

So the City Council, which has been unable to move quickly on an financial issue, is moving rapidly to extend the City Managers contract until December of 2023. Her current contract expires December 2021.

The negotiators Councilperson Quinto and Mayor Lyman have not asked the City Manager to make any real concessions as the city falls into bankruptcy. Her contract is revised to keep her increased contribution of 3% to Cal-Pers which was implemented this year. It continues to not offer the car allowance, which is something that Councilperson Fadelli has stated numerous times he would fight ever returning. It does not give her a COLA UNLESS other non-represented management staff receive a COLA. It does roll back the 3% COLA she got in 2019 when the city was already in financial dire straits.

So the only real concession here is that she has a salary reduction of 3% (the rollback of the 2019 COLA). The council meeting packet (page 114) states that she would be in the bottom quartile of Contra Costa City Manager salaries. Which sounds good until you realize that they use every city to compare rather than equivalentLy sized ones. Her base salary will be 230K a year after the reduction.

If we look at cities close by that are similarly size (20-30K populations) and using 2018 figures you will see the following

Albany-Population 19,696-City Manager salary $160,236

Hercules-Population 26,276-City Manager $220,000

Orinda-Population 19,926-City Manager Salary $210,095

Pinole-population-19,250-City Manager salary $219,910

Lafayette-Population 26,638-City Manager $247,000

San Pablo-Population 30,990-City Manager Salary $244,391

If you take the average salary of those cities you get $216,939.

I question the rapidity of this contract. The City Manager was asked at the last meeting to bring back recommendations for cuts to the Recreation Department with council members stressing the need to act quickly. Are there any recommendations in this packet? No there are not. In fact, there is no financial update on the agenda at all this meeting.

We also have two new council members being sworn in during January. Should they not get an opportunity to vote on this contract since they are going to have to be part of the fiscal management of this city? This contract that was negotiated in part by Mayor Lyman who is not going to be on the council after January.

I would love to see this contract negotiated with the reality of a nearly bankrupt city which means some real concessions. If other employees are going to be hurt by upcoming financial cuts the City Manager should also take a salary hit. She has been in the City Management for many years and has been part of the culture that has created this mess. The Recreation Department cuts that are likely to happen may very well impact the most vulnerable of our city’s residents including our seniors. If we are going to cut senior services should not the City Managers salary also be cut? How many senior meals would be paid for if her salary was cut to the average City Manager salary of $216,000? Instead they are keeping those items separate and renewing her contract quickly while delaying Recreation cuts. There are also no consequences in the contract if the city goes bankrupt. Should that not be reason for dismissal?

I think residents deserve to see the results of the city’s independent audit and the results of the State Audit before we renew the contact of our city manager. The CAFR is due out in January and the state auditor’s report is tentatively coming April/May.

If you would like to make a public comment on this for the December 1, 2020 meeting it is agenda item 7B. Send public comment to cityclerk@ci.el-cerrito.ca.us. If there is no public feedback on this item it will be passed probably 5-0 without questions even asked. Continue to challenge our council to do better. This contract needs more negotiation and needs to be not finalize until at minimum the new council gets sworn in, the cuts to the Recreation Department are decided finalize, and the new independent audit is released. Why not wait until at least February for all of those things?

4 thoughts on “City Council wants to quickly extend the City Managers Contract by two years

  1. This is ridiculous. Why even consider keeping the City Manager? Is anyone more responsible for the pressing El Cerrito financial mess than the City Manager? Has she given us any plan for how she is going to address the problem? If not, why would anyone consider keeping her in the position?

    On Wed, Nov 25, 2020 at 8:23 PM El Cerrito Committee for Responsib

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  2. It is long over due for a major change in city leadership. The City manager has a well know history of never being at work. Normally she is out traveling around the country while the city is being run by the assistant city manager and the assistant to the city manager. How is it possible that a city the size of El Cerrito needs two managers.

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    1. Management people are working from home and have been since March. That’s a fact. Also, the CM hasn’t gone anywhere; pandemic, you know. I asked. So I just post the actual facts.

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