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City manager may have to reside within 30 miles of Manteca
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Manteca’s next city manager will have to live within 30 miles of the city.

That’s the language in a proposed revision to a city ordinance governing the residency requirement for the city manager. And instead of saying they have to do so within a reasonable time as the current wording does, the proposed language gives them six months to comply.

Meeting that requirement won’t be a problem for Steve Pinkerton’s replacement. Assistant City Manager Karen McLaughlin is expected to have a five-year contract to serve as city manager approved at the same meeting Tuesday the ordinance change is being considered.

The current language does require the city manager to live in Manteca but it allows for a murky “reasonable time” to accomplish that goal.

Pinkerton never did move to Manteca. Instead he remained at his Brookside home in Stockton. Pinkerton, who is now the city manager for Davis, is buying a house in that community to comply with Davis’ requirement that the city manager reside within municipal limits.

Manteca’s city managers in the past have all lived in Manteca. One - David Jenkins - retained his home here while obtaining a residence in the two communities he worked for after Manteca which were Elk Grove and South Lake Tahoe. Jinkens has since retired and is now living in Manteca.

McLaughlin has nearly 28 years of employment history in the city manager’s office. She started as an analyst under Jinkens and eventually became assistant city manager. She served as acting city manager between Bob Adams’ departure and Pinkerton’s hiring.

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

She lives in the northern part of Modesto near Kaiser hospital within 30 miles of Manteca.

McLaughlin made it clear to her five bosses on the council that she was not going to be moving to Manteca. She indicated that she is nearing retirement and that selling her house would result in a significant loss. McLaughlin is 51. She is eligible for possible retirement at 55.

Pinkerton, when pressed after critics started questioning when he was going to move to Manteca about two years ago, noted the housing market prices made it difficult to do so in terms of what he could get for his current home. That, however, wasn’t a problem when making the decision to buy in Davis. Prices in Stockton have dropped more than 20 percent since Pinkerton was hired in Manteca.

Under the contract before the council Tuesday McLaughlin will earn $144,690 in pay prior to taxes. That is some $20,000 less than Pinkerton was making.

The contracts for both reflect higher rates of pay but that was before compensation reductions of 23.4 percent are factored into the equation. The compensation reductions are part of a citywide across-the-board cut in pay to balance the city budget and to eliminate the structured deficit.