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McLaughlin: City can’t afford more help at the top

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POSTED July 15, 2013 1:02 a.m.

City Manager Karen McLaughlin is urging her bosses not to give her additional help at this time.
Earlier this month, the Manteca City Council asked McLaughlin to put together cost estimates for hiring an assistant city manager. The council was concerned about McLaughlin’s workload as well as providing for a smooth continuation of leadership in the city’s top position in the event of an unexpected departure or serious illness.
In a report to the council for this Tuesday’s 7 p.m. meeting, McLaughlin researched three different administrative positions and calculated all of the costs of salary, benefits and pensions.
They were:
• $192,190 for an assistant city manager.
• $116,465 for a management analyst.
• $104,000 for a project analyst.
“I am not prepared to recommend the addition of any of these positions at this time,” McLaughlin noted in her report. “I would, however, prefer to spend some time developing options for additional staffing and how those changes would relate to the structure of the overall city organization.”
She is proposing such a review to be presented in January when the mid-year status report of the city’s actual revenues is presented. It would dovetail with the memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with each of the city’s labor groups that ties contract reopeners to calendar year-end revenue figures.
McLaughlin noted an additional administrative position would have to be covered by general fund receipts.
The budget as proposed through June 30, 2014 would require dipping into general fund reserves for $136,320 in order to balance the spending plan. Adding an assistant city manager would require spending down additional reserves and would create a general fund revenue shortfall of $328,519 when it comes to covering expenses incurred during the 2013-14 fiscal year.
General fund revenue is projected to increase $286,304 over last fiscal year. Even so, the one percent jump still isn’t quite enough to cover all needed expenses hence the tapping into the general fund reserves.
The council on Tuesday is scheduled to consider adopting the proposed spending plan that includes $27,946,720 for general fund expenditures to cover day-to-day city operations such as police and fire, streets, parks, and general government. Another $47,731,715 is proposed for all other funds such as sewer, water, refuse collection, and golf; $12,824,247 for capital improvement; and $6,202,185 for debt service.
The overall municipal spending plan comes to $94,704,867.
The council meets at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, e-mail

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