Karen McLaughlin’s final day as city manager could be nearly a year from now instead of Jan. 31.
That’s because the Manteca City Council on Tuesday took steps to name her as the interim manager after her resignation goes into effect 45 days from now.
The council hired McLaughlin back after her retirement to run the city while the process is underway to find her replacement as well as to be on board during a transition period. The other options were to hire an interim city manager from outside or temporarily elevate someone on staff.
Under California Public Employment Retirement System rules, a city normally can’t hire a retiree back until 180 days following their retirement date. They can hire them for work, however, before then if the council adopts a resolution and has not provided the employee with a golden parachute or financial incentive and/or bonus to retire.
Retired employees under PERS rules can only work 960 hours in a fiscal year. That translates to 24 weeks or enough to take the city through the end of the current fiscal year on June 30, 2016 if needed. Then, if McLaughlin’s services are still needed, the new fiscal year starts July 1 allowing her to stay until about the first week of December 2016 under the rules before she couldn’t work anymore in the 2016-17 fiscal year.
The council expressed the need for continuity especially for the next six months as major initiatives are being put in place plus a budget being developed for the fiscal year 2016-17.
McLaughlin will be paid $97.31 an hour — her current pay — but the city won’t be paying her benefits. She will have a $120 a month cell phone allowance.
The council also hired back Community Development Director Fredrick Clark under the same guidelines. Clark also had turned in his retirement effective Jan. 31.
The council wants the new city manager to be able to hire their own community development director.