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City violates Manteca rules on water; will city manager live in Manteca?

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POSTED July 17, 2017 12:45 a.m.

Manteca’s municipal ordinance is clear that if you discover water leaks, breaks, or malfunctions in your plumbing and irrigation system that it “shall be repaired” within 24 hours.

One would assume the City of Manteca follows its own rules.

Residents in the 2700 block of Nostalgia Street in the neighborhood southwest of the Airport Way and 120 Bypass interchange are having a hard time understanding how the city can take its sweet time regarding a water leak in the city right-of-way that’s been flowing now for more than two weeks.

Neighbors report that after the city was informed, crews did come out and mark the street as an apparent precursor to repairs being made. Meanwhile thousands of gallons of water have been flowing into the gutter and down the storm drain. 

As one resident noted in an email, “They (the city) don’t seem too concerned, yet we have to watch our water usage. What a joke.”

This isn’t the first time the city has “violated” its own rule regarding fixing leaks within 24 hours or discovery. 

Given this is the second violation, will anybody be issuing a $100 citation plus applicable fees that could be waived by the “city” attending its own water conservation workshop?

The logical recipient of such a citation might just be Mayor Steve DeBrum based on a precedent set nearly 20 years ago by the fire department to cite then Mayor Carlon Perry for the city’s failure to abate weeds along the Tidewater Bikeway after tumbleweeds were literally stacking two and three high against back fences.

 

Council members hopeful

next city manager will

move to Manteca

It’s been more than a decade since a Manteca city manager has actually lived in Manteca. That honor goes to Bob Adams. Since them the top municipal bureaucrats — Steve Pinkerton, Karen McLaughlin, and Elena Reyes — did not live in Manteca.

Several council members are hopeful that will change with Ogden.

It’s been a sore point with many — including some council members — that much of the city’s top management team doesn’t reside in Manteca.

It’s not legal, per se, to make such a demand.

The two key state laws governing the point state as follows:

uCALIFORNIA CONSTITUTION ARTICLE 11  LOCAL GOVERNMENT: SEC. 10. (b) A city or county, including any chartered city or chartered county, or public district, may not require that its employees be residents of such city, county, or district; except that such employees may be required to reside within a reasonable and specific distance of their place of employment or other designated location.

u(CALIFORNIA) GOVERNMENT CODE SECTION 50083: No local agency or district shall require that its employees be residents of such local agency or district.

Pinkerton broke the string of city managers being residents of the city.

“City managers who reside (in the city) they serve can be more effective,” Pinkerton noted in an interview in 2009, adding he doubted there was a city manager who’d disagree with that point.

A family matter and then the housing market collapse tripped up Pinkerton’s plans before he ended up taking the city manager’s job in Davis. He bought a home in Davis to comply with that city’s requirements.

In 2011, the council dropped its ordinance requiring a city manager to move to Manteca within six months of employment after concluding it was violating state law.

They changed the wording to require city managers to “live within 30 miles” and to move within a “reasonable amount of time” as opposed to six months. That accommodated McLaughlin who was living in north Modesto near Kaiser Hospital when she was elevated from assistant city manager to city manager in 2011,

McLaughlin had said over the years that she “lives in Manteca and sleeps in Modesto.”

Assuming 30 miles is a reasonable distance for a city manager to live within a drive to Manteca, it isn’t too clear whether that would comply with Ogden.

Google a mileage between Manteca and Waterford and 32.4 miles pop up. But as the crow flies the distance is less. And it could be open to interpretation that the 30 miles starts at the city manager’s front door and ends at the city limits.

Regardless, it will be interest to see how it unfolds.

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