Negotiations underway in LP

It’s not up online but this story ran in today’s paper about La Puente officials negotiating with City Manager Carol Cowley to try to keep her as a consultant through the end of the year.

In case you’re not familiar with the story, Cowley announced last month she would be retiring after less than two years as city manager.

So the countdown is on: including today, she’s got only seven work days left before she’s out. While her retirement date is Sept. 30, she’s got two vacation days she is taking on the 29th and 30th, and City Hall is closed on the 26th. So the 25th is really her last day.

LA PUENTE — City officials are trying to negotiate a contract with the city manager to keep her on the job until the end of the year.

Carol Cowley announced last month she would retire on Sept. 30 after less than two years in the top executive seat.

But officials want to keep her in City Hall as a consultant through the end of the year to ease the transition until her permanent replacement is hired.

The two parties have been negotiating through their attorneys for the last three weeks.

“We’re about 90 percent done,” Mayor Louie Lujan said. “It’s just about calling a special meeting to finalize the contract. We’re literally negotiating fine points now.”

Cowley is the city’s first female city manager. She was a city clerk in La Puente for several years before taking on the city manager role on Jan. 1, 2007.

As part of her pension, Cowley would be paid for the rest of her life about half of her nearly $140,000 yearly salary. Her health and dental benefits will be paid by the city for the rest of her life.

Consulting money would be paid on top of that.

“I think the money is fine, I think the terms are fine,” Councilman John Solis said of the negotiations. “They are just trying to figure out what kind of hours we are talking about.”

Officials would not release any further details regarding the proposed contract, citing state laws. Less than a handful of closed-session meetings have been held to discuss the issue.

Cowley declined to comment.

“There’s always the chance she and the city could not agree on terms,” Lujan said.

The city could have an interim city manager or have Assistant City Manager Gregg Yamachika “step up and oversee the transition,” Lujan said.

A final decision would have to be made before Sept. 25, which is scheduled to be Cowley’s last day, Lujan said.

Meanwhile, the council on Tuesday appointed Lujan and Solis to an ad hoc committee to oversee the hiring process for Cowley’s replacement.

La Puente has already received proposals from five executive search firms. They are: Roseville-based Bob Murray & Associates, Los Gatos-based Avery Associates, Peckham and McKenney, Ralph Andersen and Associates and Long Beach-based Alliance Resource Consulting, LLC.

Lujan said he also has received several phone calls from people interested in hearing more about the position.

“I want to find a city manager that’s fair,” Solis said. “That’s hard to find these days. Everyone plays the political game. It’s like a needle in a haystack, but can you find it.”

  • La Puente Taxpayer

    How convenient that the City Manager will retire at the tune of $70K per year for the rest of her life!!!

    This is a taxpayers ripoff.

  • LP Employee

    We say: Let her go!

    She is not worth the money. this week she was overheard talking bad about employees and Council. This woman is out of control. She spends hours and hours in her office on the phone.

  • LP Warrior

    I guess La Puente Taxpayer doesn’t believe in retirement benefits after years of service, that the City Manager and all city employees contribute into. No let them go on a failing Social Security, which by the way is also a taxpayer expense. I would be interested to know exactly where LP Taxpayer believes their money goes? Do you know where you property taxes go to? The minimal sales tax that the city generates?

  • La Puente Taxpayer

    You are kidding yourself.

    The benefits for retirement contributions are being paid from the general fund.

    CalPERS is facing a HUGE unfunded liability close to $100 Billion.

    All employees should control their destiny through private accounts and mange their monies, not by some retirement board that is so entrenched and full of politics.

  • My Dog Spot

    After 30 yrs of service you are entitled to the benefit’s you worked for all your life.Doesn’t the city council receive medical and dental and vision for life what do they put in to get this 1 term city council what a rip off .$300.00 phone and faxes another joke .This must be how HOLLOWAY going to get his retirement

  • I am John Solis

    Its obvious that My Dog Spot is John Solis.