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Council to discuss City Manager pay, goals

The Foothills Sun-Gazette of Exeter, California

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City Council votes to move forward with Nov. 16 workshop at City Hall

lindsay — When it comes to City Manager, there isn't much the Lindsay City Council can agree on. The issue of the City's top appointment resurfaced at the Oct. 27 City Council meeting. The Council continues to be split on nearly every issue concerning the position including the pay scale, benefits package, fiscal year goals, full-time or part-time, they can't even agree on a date to discuss the issues they can't agree on!

In order to help them find some common ground, Interim City Manager Bill Zigler proposed using a facilitator to build some consensus on what kind of candidate the Council will consider.

"The issue is that we have competing goals," Zigler told the Council. "A facilitator can help us reach a compromise."

Zigler suggested hiring Barry Sommer, Director of School Community Services for Lindsay Unified School District. Councilmembers Pam Kimball and Danny Salinas liked the idea, stating that the conversation would never end because the two factions of the Council were incapable of reaching an agreement without some sort of moderation.

"Having a facilitator would be really good for us," Kimball said. "There seems to be a lot of interest in this workshop. It would be worth it to put it off a week or two. It's easier to make these decisions when we are more unified."

Salinas took it one step further saying it was premature to even consider someone to replace Zigler when the Council agreed he would be evaluated over a six-month period.

"He's working with all of the department heads and with all of the agencies to get us out of debt," Salinas said. "You are the right guy for right now."

City Attorney Mario Zamora clarified that the facilitator would not help select the City Manager but rather help the Council come to a consensus on what type of candidate they want to consider.

Mayor Ramona Padilla balked at the idea stating that the job description was extremely detailed and met all the needs required by the Council.

"Why pay someone to ask questions about what the Council wants?" she said. "I can do that."

Zigler said if the Council did decide to use Sommer they would have to reschedule the city manager workshop scheduled for Nov. 16, a date that was approved at the Oct. 13 meeting.

Ultimately, Mecum motioned to keep the Nov. 16 workshop meeting with or without the facilitator. The motion was seconded by Sanchez with Padilla also voting in favor of keeping the date. Salinas and Kimball voted no but the motion passed.

One of the biggest issues remaining to decide what salary a permanent city manager would make. Zigler said the City has had no interest in the Finance Director position which Tamara Laken is vacating in January when she retires. The position has been posted for three weeks with no interest. Laken said her position's salary ranges from $56,000 to $92,000 per year and is the lowest scale for Tulare County. The only exception is Woodlake, which is the only city that combines the positions of city manager and finance director with a city administrator title.

But that salary is still higher than the one being proposed by Council for the City Manager position for between $72,000 and $90,000 per year. As Planning Director, Zigler's salary scale tops out at about $72,000 but City Services Director Mike Camarena's salary scale ranges from $72,000 to $96,000.

"We would have department heads making more than that," Zigler said. "You may have trouble filling that spot on the low end."

Zigler pointed out the salary would be significantly lower than surrounding cities. City Manager salaries range from $118,000 to $140,000 in Exeter; $109,000 to $126,000 in Woodlake and $112,000 in Farmersville.

The City Manager workshop is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 16 in Council Chambers at Lindsay City Hall, located at 251 E. Honolulu St. in Lindsay.

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Original Publication Date: November 4, 2015

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