Davis requires its city manager to live within its city limits as a condition of employment.
That means Steve Pinkerton - who departs Manteca’s city manager post Friday to take a similar position in Davis - has to buy a house in Davis in order to keep his job.
Manteca has an ordinance that addresses the city manager’s residency requirements but it is vague at best. It states, “Residence in the city at the time of appointment of a city manager shall not be required as a condition of appointment, but the city manager shall use his or her best efforts to become a resident of the city within a reasonable time following his or her appointment.”
Three years - the length of time Pinkerton served as city manager - apparently did not qualify as an unreasonable time to meet that municipal rule. Pinkerton remained a Stockton resident during his entire tenure as city manager.
The City Council last week directed staff to rewrite the ordinance and put in place language that requires the city manager live within some many miles of Manteca.
The language is a concession to Assistant City Manager Karen McLaughlin who has been tapped to replace Pinkerton but has made it clear that she has no intention of moving to Manteca.
She asked the council to consider changing the municipal ordinance that requires a city manager to live within the city limits. McLaughlin said she made the request so as not to leave anyone with false expectations that she would move to Manteca.
“I live in Manteca and sleep in Modesto,” is a line that McLaughlin often repeats.
The council has expressed no qualms in accommodating McLaughlin’s request. The mileage rule will essentially have to include her home located in a Bright Homes Development neighborhood near Kaiser Hospital in north Modesto.
Modesto, by the way, has the same residency requirement for their city manager as Davis.
Councilman John Harris asked City Attorney John Brinton if the council could change the ordinance after McLaughlin’s tenure ends. Brinton noted a future council could do that.
Several council members indicated they had been contacted by Manteca residents who want them to appoint McLaughlin but at the same time make sure any future city manager that follows her resides in Manteca.
Councilman Vince Hernandez noted cell phones have helped keep administrators in constant contact with city personnel wherever they may go.
McLaughlin has been with the city since 1987.
City managers in Ripon, Escalon and Ceres are required to move to the respective communities within six months of being hired.