A city manager’s worth: Glendora considers new contract for Chris Jeffers amid criticism

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GLENDORA – On the eve of consideration of a new long-term contract with their city manager, a new survey of employees calls into question the leadership abilities of Glendora’s top administrator.

The City Council will consider a new four-and-a-half-year contract tonight for City Manager Chris Jeffers. The city manager, who makes about $202,000 in base annual salary, has worked for the city since 2007.

Also on tonight’s agenda is a survey of city employees that showed an overall satisfaction rate of 73.2 percent, but many of the comments submitted by workers were critical of Jeffers.

“He has been publicly outed on more than once occasion and yet he continues to have a job,” wrote one commenter. “Will all employees be forgiven for lying should they too be found out?”

More than 40 comments were critical of Jeffers directly or cited problems with the city’s leadership. There were 313 comments total on six questions. The survey was compiled through responses from 136 employees out of 206 that were asked to respond.

Jeffers could not be reached for comment.

“We are pleased that employees are satisfied with their jobs and believe they are an important part of our service delivery,” said Mayor Ken Herman in a written statement. “In these tough financial times and with the city’s recent pension reform and benefit reductions, we expected that we would receive some sharp complaints. Overall
the results show the satisfaction to be on par with what other agencies that perform these obtain.”

City administrators and general employees have been battling in recent months after contentious negotiations with the general employees association.

The city was asking the association to take less benefits, while also shifting policy to have employees pay a full portion of their CalPERS pension benefit.

In the end, an impasse was declared and the council imposed new contract conditions on employees.

During the process, an attorney representing the association was critical of Jeffers and said he was dishonest. The attorney, Wendell Phillips, wasn’t surprised at the critical comments for Jeffers.

“I think (employees) love the city and I think they love the residents, but I think they are totally frustrated with the lack of leadership from the city manager,” Phillips said. “Here is a guy who regularly lies to his bosses and their response to him was to give him a multi-year deal with a $200,000 buy out. That is insanity.”

Jeffers has been strongly supported by members of the council, as well as those seeking election. Councilwoman Karen Davis defended the long-term contract as one that creates stability by keeping Jeffers in house for years to come.

In previous discussions, all seven candidates running for council in March said they support Jeffers as the city’s top executive.

Jeffers contract, as well as the employee survey, are on the agenda for tonight’s meeting at 7 p.m. at Glendora City Hall, 116 E. Foothill Blvd., Glendora.