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Wording in city manager’s deal could be worth extra $20,017

The Manteca City Council behind closed doors agreed to a deal that will officially make Miranda Lutzow the interim city manager for a year through Dec. 31, 2020.

As required by law, they must ratify that contract at a public meeting. That is the intent when the council meets Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.

How much she will be paid if she works the entire year isn’t exactly clear. It could either be $240,204 or $260,226.20. Either way it is at least $50,204 more a year than her predecessor Tim Ogden was hired at 2½ years ago. Ogden is now the city manager of Brentwood.

The discrepancy appears under “compensation and benefits.” The contract states “Lutzow’s compensation shall be $20,017 per month ($10,800.70 biweekly) and prorated for any partial month . . .” The contract for Ogden stated an annual salary as did that of his predecessor — Elena Reyes — that was stated in her contract as $190,800 a year.

The absence of what the annual salary is means the wording of the contract could be used to determine two different pay rates for a full year.

Monthly means 12 times a year. Multiplying the monthly rate of $20,017 brings up an annual pay of $240,204.

Given that biweekly is defined as every two weeks and there are 26 weeks in a year the $10,008.70 biweekly rate listed in the contract multiplied by 13 (26 weeks in a year divided by 2) comes to $260,226.20.

There is a $20,017 difference between the two figures.

City employees are paid biweekly as opposed to bimonthly which means twice a month.

If the annual rate of pay is indeed $240,204 and not the higher $260,226.20, then the biweekly rate should have stated her pay as $9,238.62 biweekly.

That means if the contract is adopted by the council as is with no other compensation information listed as to the overall annual salary, it is not clear how much Lutzow is actually due given the numbers listed for a monthly rate (pay based on 12 times a year) and for a biweekly rate (pay based in 26 times a year) are not the same.

The contract also has provisions that would allow her to return to her previous job as administrative services director/human resources director if the council terminates her. That would happen without the city having to pay severance pay. Lutzow would return to the salary and benefits she was earning before in her previous position.

If Lutzow intends to leave the city’s employment while the contract is in effect she must provide a notice of at least three months. The contract makes it clear that Lutzow is an at-will employee that serves at the pleasure of the majority of the council. Given it is an interim position, no specific term of interim employment is implied or guaranteed.

Should she be hired as the permanent city manager, her contract as interim city manager would be terminated as would the guarantee that she could return to her previous job with the city.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email