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Money woes dog Lathrop during 2010
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Editor’s note: This is the first of two parts looking back on key events in Lathrop during 2010.

LATHROP – The year 2010 marked a number of firsts for Lathrop. It was also the year Lathrop saw its revenues dip to new lows, and its image rise in the realm of feel-good news that spread throughout the country.

It was also marked by a number of controversies involving the mayor, her husband and other former and current city officials, with those stories are expected to continue in 2011 due to pending results of their resolutions in court.

Lathrop started 2010 with controversy surrounding the resignation of Police chief Dolores Delgado, and is ending with more controversy as recently termed-out Mayor Kristy Sayles continues her efforts to appeal the cancellation of her child care business license with the State of California which was the result of a complaint she filed against her husband, Thomas Xavier, accusing him of physically abusing her 8-year-old son from a previous marriage. That case is still continuing.

Some of the firsts that highlighted 2010 for Lathrop included the appointment of a new police chief, Sheriff’s Captain Eric Holman, who succeeded Delgado; the opening of the first office for the Lathrop Chamber of Commerce in the Save Mart shopping center on North Harlan Road, and the installation of the sign, “In God We Trust,” prominently in the Council Chambers at City Hall with no taxpayers’ money involved. Among those who donated for this sign were two Lathrop churches – Lighthouse Community Church and the First Baptist Church on J Street.

Among the lows in 2010, and one that dogged the city throughout the year, was the budget crisis which resulted in the layoff of more than two-dozen employees including some key management staff.

At the same time, the crisis brought some good news – at least, in the public relations department for the city – when employee Patricia Overy, a wife and mother of three young children, offered to step down during the budget cutbacks so that one of her older co-workers would not lose her position. Her good-hearted gesture  caught the attention of many television and news outlets throughout the country including CNN and all the major networks.

• Lathrop Police loses 3 deputies

• Mayor’s husband files suit against the city of Lathrop. His complaint stemmed from the physical altercation he had in the Council Chambers at City Hall with Planning Commissioner Dan Mac Neilage and Ron Rhodes, the husband of former mayor Gloryanna Rhodes, during the first day of accepting entries to the annual Mayor’s Art Purchase Show and Sale last year in March. Mayor’s husband demands a jury trial. In the Manteca Bulletin story that ran Saturday, Feb. 20, one of the defendants mistakenly said that the lawsuit was filed in San Joaquin County Superior Court. A copy of the document filed by Tom Sayles shows that it was filed in the United States District Court, Eastern District of California.

According to the official document, Sayles is seeking damages for the following 10 itemized complaints stemming from the April 24, 2009 altercation in Lathrop City Hall’s Council Chambers:

1. negligence,

2. intentional and/or negligent violation of right to free speech,

3. assault,

4. battery,

5. negligent hiring, training, supervision and/or retention,

6. violation of federal civil rights,

7. intentional and/or negligent infliction of emotional distress,

8. violation of Brown Act,

9. violation of right to assembly, and,

10. violation of right to due process.

• Lathrop eliminates 10 more positions City braces up for possible additional layoffs, shut down of more services The city’s parks project manager is gone. The equivalent savings for the city in the continuing budget bloodletting: $133,227. The assistant community development director is being demoted to principal planner. Savings realized for the current budget deficit: $23,191.

• The six-year Lathrop city employee was recognized for giving up her position to save the job of a co-worker in the finance department who was among those being laid off as part of the continuing effort to balance the current fiscal year’s budget which, at that time, was still running a $1.5 million deficit. In the short speech she gave before the council on March 1 when she announced her decision, Overy said. “My hope is that the community of Lathrop will survive this difficult economy.” The beneficiary of Overy’s unselfish sacrificial act was 63-year-old Sharon Singleton who has worked for the city as an accountant for the last six years. At the time of her resignation, Overy has worked for seven years as an accounting technician in the finance department.

• Election will decide replacement for retired Councilman Oliver

• In God We Trust” sign now on display at Lathrop City Hall

• Lathrop seniors spared from garbage rate increase