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SIX FIGURE DEPARTING CHECK

City manager’s last check may have topped $250K

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SIX FIGURE DEPARTING CHECK

Departed City Manager Elena Reyes is shown looking over a map of Manteca during an August 2016 interview.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin/


POSTED June 19, 2017 1:30 a.m.

Elena Reyes walked away from her 38-week stint as city manager — including 19 weeks she was paid for not working — with at least an additional $145,000, if not more than $250,000.

The Manteca City Council is expected to authorize a budget transfer of $245,000 when they meet Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center from the city’s Self Insurance Risk Fund to the general fund’s undesignated reserves. From there $145,000 will be moved as a budget appropriation from the undesignated reserves to the city manager salaries account.

The resolution the council is adopting doesn’t make it clear exactly why the remaining $100,000 is being transferred out of the Self Insurance Risk Fund. The accompanying staff report from Finance Director Suzanne Mallory provides a clue as to what the additional $100,000 is being transferred to cover. In the staff report Mallory notes, “Due to the request made earlier in the fiscal year for additional assistance in the City Manager’s office, only a partial increase to the salaries account is needed at this time.”

That previous transfer from the undesignated reserves could have been used to cover costs related to Reyes’ separation agreement.

 

Contract required

year’s pay for early

departure if Reyes

was still willing and

able to work

The contract Reyes and the council signed allows for her termination without cause only by an affirmative four-fifths vote of the City Council. If she is terminated while still willing and able to perform the duties of city manager she will receive a lump sum payment equal to 12 months of her salary. Her annual salary is $191,800.

The contract also allowed Reyes to accrue 15.3 hours of vacation each month. Given that she worked 19 weeks and then was put on paid administrative leave for another 19 weeks that translates into roughly nine months. She was paid $92.20 an hour. The additional 143 hours would come to $13,193.

Then there was contract language that allowed Reyes to start with 240 hours of accrued sick leave hours, and 160 hours of accrued vacation hours. That translated into $36,880 based on 400 hours times her hourly rate of $92.20

Also on the day she started on July 13, 2016  — based on contract language — she started “accruing sick leave and vacation leave on a monthly basis, at a minimum, at the highest rate provided or available to other employees, under the same rules and provisions applicable to the most senior Executive Management.”

Her last day on the city payroll was April 14, 2017

She also is entitled to 120 hours of administrative leave for each year of the contract. Given she worked for three fourths of a year that would translate into 90 hours or $8,298 based on $92.20 an hour

All of that added up, except for sick and vacation time she accrued over 38 weeks, comes to $250,171.

That doesn’t include the $70,300 she received for being on paid leave and not working for 19 weeks based on a 40-hour week at $92.50 an hour

Assuming the council fulfilled all of the contractual obligations, Reyes would have received more than $320,000 for essentially not working as opposed to the $70,300 when she was on the job for the 19 weeks she was allowed to perform the duties she was hired to do by the City Council.

The council put Reyes on paid leave Nov. 28, 2016 after receiving a number of complaints from city personnel that were filed as formal grievances.

The city council paid an outside attorney to investigate the claims. That cost is in addition to the settlement they made with Reyes.

There has never been a public announcement of what the complaints involved or whether they were determined to have merit.

A release prepared by the city’s legal counsel in April stated, “The City and Ms. Reyes have decided to end her services as City Manager. Ms. Reyes and the City simply believe this separation is in the best interests of all Parties. The City of Manteca acknowledges Ms. Reyes’ services, hard work, efforts and accomplishments during the time she served as City Manager. Ms. Reyes appreciates the opportunity to have served the City of Manteca as City Manager. Ms. Reyes’ last day of service will be April 14, 2017.”

 

City Council now

interviewing manager

replacement candidates

The City Council is currently in the process of interviewing replacement candidates.

Meanwhile, Greg Showerman will continue as acting city manager.

Showerman was taken from the Public Works management staff by Reyes in August 2016 within weeks after she was hired. She told the council at the time the workload was too heavy for her to handle by herself.

In the past the city had an assistant city manager. It was created when Karen McLaughlin was made Manteca’s first assistant city manager when Steve Pinkerton served as city manager.

McLaughlin was elevated to city manager when Pinkerton left to take a similar post in Davis.

When McLaughlin took over for Pinkerton in September 2011 she told the council that she couldn’t in good conscience justify hiring an assistant city manager given compensation and staffing cutbacks that had whittled the municipal work force by 88 workers over the three previous years.

The position of assistant city manager would cost $248,325 to fill when salary and benefits are combined.

The post was left unfunded in the proposed budget the council is considering adopting when they meet Tuesday.

The personnel request form for the position in the fiscal year budget starting on July 1 stated, “In 2011, due to the downturn in the economy and upon the recommendation of the City Manager, the Assistant City Manager position was closed. The intent was to revisit the reopening of this position once the economy improved and other positions citywide that had been eliminated were considered for reinstatement. 

“The position of Assistant City Manager is critical to the timely implementation of City Council goals and objectives and will provide much-needed support to the City Manager as they oversee the development and operation of a growing community.”

Showerman in March was appointed by the council to serve as the community development director. He will assume that position fulltime when the new city manager starts work.

 

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com

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