CALIFORNIA CITY — The City Council unanimously approved a three-year contract with City Manager Anna Linn on Tuesday, making permanent the position she has held in an interim capacity since April.
The contract was approved as presented and agreed upon during negotiations, despite Council members and members of the public requesting the salary be increased to be more in line with her predecessor.
Mayor Chuck McGuire said as the highest-ranking position in the city, the city manager should have a base salary higher than others.
“Should she not be made higher than anybody else in this city? That seems to be the appropriate thing,” he said. “If she’s approved, she’s going to be running the show. Should not the compensation show that?”
Under the contract, Linn will be paid $114,797 annually, plus the same health and other benefits as other city management employees. She will also have use of a city vehicle and city-provided cellphone.
Her immediate predecessor, Robert Stockwell, was paid $145,000 annually under a three-year contract approved in March 2018.
Stockwell resigned on May 14, after the Council had placed him on paid administrative leave two weeks prior pending an investigation into unspecified issues with his performance.
Linn, who had been serving as Stockwell’s executive assistant, was named interim city manager when he was placed on administrative leave.
The Council met in closed session at its Aug. 27 meeting to conduct an evaluation of Linn’s performance and decided at that time to extend a contract removing the “interim” label from her title and making her city manager.
As for the salary, residents said she has been doing a good job in the four months she has been in the position and should be recognized, and that having the city manager make less than department heads could be problematic.
Mayor Pro Tem Gene Stump made a motion to increase the salary to $11,000 per month, or a base salary of $132,000. The motion, however, failed on a 3-2 vote, with only Stump and Councilman Donald Parris voting in favor of it.
Linn, thanking the council for their support, said the matter could be revisited in three months, at which point there is already a performance evaluation in the contract.
McGuire agreed with that position, as the salary was already agreed to during the contract negotiations and rather than reopen that negotiation at this time, it could wait until the three-month mark.
The contract states Linn is an at-will employee, serving at the pleasure of the City Council and may be removed at any time, with or without cause, by a majority vote of its members.
She would receive severance pay equal to six months’ of the base salary. No severance, however, would be paid out during the first three months of the contract.
Linn could be terminated for cause, which according to the contract includes conviction of a felony, abuse of non-prescription drugs or alcohol that materially affects performance of her duties, repeated and protracted unexcused absences or willful violation of federal, state or local laws or willful refusal to obey a lawful order of the City Council.
In such cases, no severance would be paid, and the contract states that Linn may not make any written or oral statements to the press about the termination except through a joint press statement with the Council.
The city has been operating without permanent employees in several of its management positions. In addition to Linn, the city has been without a public works director since the former director, Craig Platt, was placed on paid administrative leave May 8, also for an investigation into unspecified issues. His employment with the city ended in July.
Most recently, Finance Director Diego Ibanez was fired last month after less than a year on the job. There has been no appointment of an interim finance director as yet.