Covina City Manager Paul Philips is gone, and the only explanation that we get from the City Council is that there were “philosophical differences.”
That is the same explanation that the Rosemead City Council gave when they fired former City Manager Andrew Lazzarretto.
So should we feel sorry for Philips? Well, he IS getting a nearly $95,000 severance package.
Philips is the chair of the San Gabriel Valley Council of Government’s City Manager’s Steering Committee.
Here is reporter Amanda Baumfeld’s story:
Covina fires city manager
Council ousts Philips, citing differing views
By Amanda Baumfeld, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 08/12/2008 11:38:32 PM PDT
Philips COVINA – The City Council fired City Manager Paul Philips in a special meeting Monday night, citing philosophical differences, officials said.
After two hours of discussion, the council unanimously voted to oust Philips from the city’s top administrative position, according to Chief Deputy City Clerk Toni Taber.
Philips was paid $190,560 per year, according to Gregg Yost, the city’s human resource manager. He will receive $95,280 as part of a six-month severance package.
Council members said they differed with Philips on the direction in which the city needs to go.
“Always somewhat of a problem when you have different views on how to move something forward,” said Mayor Kevin Stapleton. “There was not a list of charges, just a matter of different views of where we should be going and how to get there.”
Calls to Philips’ home for comment were not returned Tuesday.
Philips was hired in June 2000 during a controversial budget period. Council members at the time credited him for bringing calm to Covina after a decade of turbulence.
Covina is expected to appoint an interim city manager within the week, then begin a search for Philips’ replacement, officials said.
Assistant City Manager Karin Gallivan is one possibility for the interim position but the council does not want to “overwhelm” her, Stapleton said.
The mayor said he had differences with Philips for about a year.
“The general impression
in the way we go about things and our vision in how to advance Covina, we just saw it differently,” Stapleton said. “I can’t really go into specifics.”
Councilman John King also would not state specifics, saying it could be “construed as negativity.”
“This was not an angry, ugly parting of the ways,” King said. “It was very respectful. We appreciate Mr. Philips and what he has done in the community. We are all moving in a different direction.”
Councilman Walter Allen declined to comment, saying it’s a personnel matter and he did not want to interfere with Philips’ privacy.
During the past year, Covina declared a fiscal crisis and proposed to cut nearly 100 jobs if a 10-year extension of the utility user tax was not approved. Voters approved the measure in June.
In April, Rob Bobkiewicz, president of the Police Association of Covina, criticized city management at a council meeting saying Covina needed new leadership.
Stapleton plans to meet with department heads today to discuss Philips’ dismissal and to assure city staff that this is not a “witch hunt.”
“We are not overturning the entire city staff. We had some problems and we didn’t see eye to eye but that does not affect anyone else,” Stapleton said. “It’s our intent to move forward and this is the best decision in the long run for the city, residents and employees.”
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