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Next city manager must reside within Ripon school district
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Several months ago, the Ripon City Council looked into updating the job description for city administrator.

Uniformity was the main concern for changes to the six-decade-old ordinance, elected leaders said back in April.

That came on the heels of Leon Compton retiring from the post and his successor, Kevin Werner, who is the deputy city administrator / city engineer, waiting in the wings. Changes were not directed at his promotion, according to council members.

Tuesday, they made it official, approving the amendments to the Ripon municipal code, which will go into effect after 30 days after posting, thus, paving the way for Werner for Council appointment.

In order to be eligible, the person picked to the post must live within the boundaries of the Ripon Unified School District at least six months after accepting the job. Compton lived in rural Stanislaus County.

Other changes and clarifications include:

• Under residence requirement, “No person elected or appointed to membership on the City Council shall, subsequent to such election or appointment, be eligible for appointments as city administrator of the City until one year has elapsed after he or she ceased to be a member of the City Council.”

• In the case of resignation, “The City Administrator may resign at any time by providing a 30-day written notice” to the council.

• In the event of removal for cause, “Council may remove the City Administrator for cause by a three member vote.”

• As for removal without cause, “Council may remove the City Administrator without cause by a four member vote.” Fraud, willful misconduct, gross negligence, felony conviction or “other crime involving moral turpitude” were listed in with / without cause.

• Powers and duties of the City Administrator “shall be responsible for the efficient administration of all the affairs of the City which are under this control.”

• Along with exercising control over all departments of the city government not to mention appointed officers and employees, this person is also required to attend all City Council meetings, recommending measures and ordinances the “he or she deems necessary or expedient” and keep elected leaders full advised as to the financial conditions and needs of the city.

Council had looked to clean up the language of the code, including use of the super majority vote.

“The 4-1 vote worked for 60 years, and we need to maintain the integrity of Ripon,” said Vice Mayor Chuck Winn at the April meeting.

He had recommended staff look at tenure, continuity, and even morale in making changes to the ordinance.