HomeCity NewsDivided Council Reorganize City Administration

Divided Council Reorganize City Administration

Three New Positions to Replace Assistant City Manager, Finance Director

The San Marino City Council terminated the position of Assistant City Manager and the contract of the person in that position, Lucy Garcia, in a four-to-one vote at its Apr. 12 regular meeting.

Vice Mayor Richard Ward cast the lone dissenting vote.

“I find it very difficult to accept the Ad Hoc proposal exactly as presented by the committee,” Ward said, noting that the council had a lengthy discussion about the matter. “I find it to be a particularly difficult [decision] to make and it’s inevitable that, I have to say that to some extent, I take into account the personalities and the personnel that are involved in the implication of this decision,” he added.

Garcia, a 12-½ year employee of the City of San Marino, was placed on administrative leave during a city council closed session meeting two weeks prior to Apr. 12.

The council’s decision included the elimination of the vacant finance director position, and the establishment of three fulltime positions: administrative services director, human resources manager and accountant. The council’s recent actions were informed by the first four of 44 total findings and recommendations listed in two council-commissioned reports produced by San Marino residents and citizen advisors Dan Biles, Alfred Boegh, Stef Dietrich, Hal Harrigian and Susan Jakubowski. The report’s authors did not comment during the 10-minute agenda item.

Interim City Manager Cindy Collins explained that she and the city council reviewed and analyzed the reports “and considered various alternatives to address the issues raised specifically in the areas of finance and human resources.”

“These two functions are relied upon by every city department and are critical in the financial operational health of the organization. Ultimately [these] actions are considered to be the most appropriate staffing consideration as discussed in closed session,” Collins stated.

She shared that the City Librarian and Recreation Manager “will need to perform more independently, and the city manager will be more administratively involved with the [Library and Recreation] departments,” as a result of Garcia’s termination.

“The personnel rules provide for additional compensation of 5 percent,” Collins added, noting that the additional cost to the city would be $34,000 in the next fiscal year. The Interim City Manager/new City Manager will evaluate the change in structure to determine the effectiveness,” she said.

Council Member Steve Talt addressed his comments of clarification to Collins, the public and city staff.

“In evaluating, the [citizen] advisory committee was directed not to look into individual job performances. So any decision made was not based upon the adequacy of the job the person described was doing,” Talt explained.

Mayor Richard Sun concurred.

“The council has already had an extensive discussion on this matter in closed session. Like Councilman Talt said, it’s based on the function, which will benefit the organization the most. It has nothing to do with the individual’s performance,” stated Sun.

“The council wanted to look at our basic structure to govern the city now and in the future. And that is what the Ad Hoc committee called for and they did a very thorough job,” added Council Member Allan Yung.

It is now the job of Collins to draft job descriptions and salary schedules for the newly created positions so that the city may begin to fill the three new vacancies.


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