CALIFORNIA CITY — The City Council on Tuesday did not complete its closed-session performance evaluation of City Manager Robert Stockwell, continuing the matter that prompted visible public support for Stockwell to a special session this morning beginning at 9 a.m.
With the evaluation on the closed session agenda prior to the Monday meeting, about two dozen people wearing T-shirts stating “We support Bob Stockwell Our city manager” were on hand to declare their support. A number spoke to that effect during the public comment portion before the Council went into closed session.
The Council did not finish its discussion prior to the start of the regular meeting, and continued it after the regular business was concluded, then extended the discussion further to the special meeting today.
Stockwell was hired by the city in November 2017, first on an interim basis through Municipal Solutions, a private firm which provides experienced professionals to local governments as a type of temp agency.
The city originally agreed to a six-month contract, with an evaluation after 90 days.
Stockwell said at the time he was interested in a long-term position in Cal City if he and the Council find they work well together.
The Council approved a three-year contract with Stockwell in March 2018. This is his first annual review.
The contract has a provision for termination without cause that includes a severance package of six month’s salary, is standard for a city manager’s contract, City Attorney Christian Bettenhausen said at the time.
At the time, the Council raised concerns about the provisions for terminating the contract for cause, and added a provision as a cause for termination for “any willful violation of any federal, state or local law or any willful refusal to obey a lawful order of the City Council.” This is in addition to felony convictions, alcohol or drug abuse that materially affects performance and repeated or protracted unexcused absences from duties.
Stockwell has more than 30 years’ experience in city management, in cities larger and smaller than California City, he said.
Prior to coming to Cal City, he spent the last several years in the private sector, working for a small construction company, while consulting for municipalities.
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