Manteca trimmed spending by $14.1 million and shed 88 municipal workers during Steve Pinkerton’s tenure as city manager.
The city also weaned itself away from a structured deficit by re-negotiating employee contracts and establishing a budget that relies strictly on money collected during a given fiscal year to pay for the cost of services provided.
Pinkerton recapped his three years at the helm of municipal operations during Thursday’s Manteca City Council meeting. The 51-year-old starts next month as the city manager of Davis in Yolo County west of Sacramento.
Pinkerton had nothing but praise for municipal employees and his five bosses on the City Council.
He said Manteca’s remaining 342 workers have stepped up in such a manner that he doubts there is another jurisdiction in the state that can compare with their efforts. Not only did city workers take on extra work as staff was reduced due to declining revenue, but they also took compensation cuts ranging from 19 to 23 percent. Pinkerton added that municipal workers have still managed to keep service levels up despite the cutbacks.
The city manager praised the council for “staying focused” by not letting differing opinions undermine efforts to move the city forward. Pinkerton noted that the council members have had strong differences of opinion but have set aside differences once a vote is taken.
As a result he believes Manteca is better positioned to weather the rest of the recession as well as to take advantage of the next economic upswing compared to most other jurisdictions.
He said Manteca’s elected leaders acted decisively and fairly quickly when it became clear the recession was underway.
“All you have to do is look 10 miles to the north to see what happens when you are still in denial,” Pinkerton said.
Pinkerton was referring to Stockton delaying addressing personnel and compensation until recently. As a result, they were not able to compound savings over several years to reduce the size of the financial hit the city has to take.
Among the accomplishments of city staff and council over the past three years that Pinkerton noted included:
• helping keep one of the city’s biggest sales tax collectors - BR Funsten - from relocating to Stockton.
• making sure Hampton Inn was able to build.
• the new animal shelter under construction.
• the new vehicle maintenance facility that is breaking ground this fall.
• the transit station breaking ground later this year at Moffat Boulevard and South Main Street.
Pinkerton said it was the efforts of city workers and the council that allowed Manteca to have “60 percent of all new construction activity in San Joaquin County” take place within Manteca’s city limits.
Assistant City Manager Karen McLaughlin has been tapped by the council to replace Pinkerton.
She has served under three city managers - Pinkerton, Bob Adams and Dave Jinkens.