Add one more to the list of potential Glendora, Azusa council candidates

I can’t tell you how much I am excited for the upcoming city council elections in March. There are so many story lines for two of the cities I cover in races that should be highly competitive.

In Azusa, the Azusa Rock Quarry referendum and the project’s general implications should make for some fireworks for councilman Angel Carrillo and Urial Macias, both seeking reelection. The election may also test the power of Mayor Joe Rocha.

Former planning commissioner Jorge Rosales is planning to kick of his campaign in two weeks on Saturday Dec. 11. You may know Jorge through his involvement with Azusans Against Mining Expansion or as the guy who takes pictures at every city function. He also happens to be buds with Mayor Rocha.

Also in the mix is Peggy Martinez, a former Downtown Azusa Business Association director, who is a fixture in the city, and Paul Naccachian, who ran and lost two years ago but has become more prominent and vocal in the community on the Vulcan issue as well as others, such as bicycle helmet safety. The newest name on that list is Madelyn Payne, chair of the city library commission and president of the Friends of the Library group.

And then there is Glendora. With recent revelations about their city manager having left Monterey Park four years ago with about $500,000 in unused leave time and their own city’s issues with benefits as shown when their police chief retired in 2009, there is some ammunition for potential candidates against incumbents Doug Tessitor and Ken Herman.

Plus, the city has butted heads with its employee union over employee compensation. The city has taken a hard line against benefits for employees, including the way the CALPERS retirement plan is funded. That could play well with voters, but if the unions are pitted against the incumbents, campaign contributions could favor contenders.

As for the update on potential challengers in Glendora, I have already reported that Jason Nagy, John Fields, Ed Brubaker and Erica Landmann-Johnsey previously pulled papers. Now you can add Joe Santoro to the list.

The deadline for papers to be filed is still about two weeks away and I expect a few more names to be added to the list before it is all said and done.

Consider this: When Gary Clifford resigned from the council earlier this year, the council had 15 applicants for the position. They chose Terry Kent who pledged to not run for council. That means, besides the two incumbent positions, there is an open slot on this council. New blood is coming in and someone can run and not have to challenge the incumbents to do it. I expect a big field.

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League of California Cities releases a survey of city manager salaries across the state

The League of California Cities (doesn’t the name make it seem like a superhero group?) released a survey today of city manager compensation from cities across the state. Of the 468 cities asked to participate, about 90 percent responded, according to a statement from the League of California Cities.

If you want to see the survey, click here.

The survey includes notes on additional benefits, but nothing detailed. The salary totals are the total income for the manager from their 2009 taxes, rather than a base salary.

Some immediate things that jumped out at me was Daryl Parish’s income from 2009, which was a whopping $328,830. That sum includes a cash payout of sick and vacation time from a “previous employer” (probably Colton) of about 1400 hours over an 18 month period.

The city manager of Glendale, Jim Starbird, manages a city of more than 200,000 people and made $251,000 in 2009. Duarte’s City Manager Darrell George manages a city of about 22,000 people and made $215,440. Glendora’s City Manager Chris Jeffers made $234,000 for a city of 52,000 people. Robert Griego, Irwindale’s former city manager, oversees a city of 1,717 and made $235,502. Don Hannah, La Habra’s city manager made $171,903 with a city population of 62,822. Fran Delach, Azusa’s city manager, made $252,000 for a city of more than 48,000. Santa Ana’s City Manager David Ream makes $240,000 in a city of 357,000 people.

I don’t see West Covina or Whittier on the list. CORRECTION: Whittier is on the list. A gap on the list fooled me into thinking it was the end. I feel like I finished a school test before everyone else, turned it in, only to later realize there was a back side I never knew about. Anyway, Whittier is $283,346 for Stephen Helvey.

Are any other local cities missing?

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State Controller wants city salaries available online (what a novel idea…duh)

Well, it shouldn’t be long until we won’t need to file numerous public records requests to get the salaries of City Managers (like I did for this story) or for any city employee soon.

After the scandalous Bell issues and reports from various news agencies, like the Tribune, following up on salaries throughout their coverage areas, the state Controller is now looking to make cities post their department salaries.

I know what most people are thinking: Why wasn’t this done years upon years ago, like when cities first created websites filled with city information and council agendas? That’s a very good question…

Here is the press release from State Controller John Chiang’s office today:

SACRAMENTO – State Controller John Chiang today announced new reporting requirements for all California cities and counties, directing them to clearly identify elected officials and public employees’ compensation. The information will be posted on the Controller’s website, starting in November.

“The absence of transparency is a breeding ground for waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer dollars,” said Chiang. “A single website with accessible information will make sure that excessive pay is no longer able to escape public scrutiny and accountability.”

The new reporting requirements come after the City of Bell reportedly spent $1.6 million annually on just three city employees, and nearly $100,000 for each part-time City Councilmember. At the request of the City of Bell’s Interim City Administrative Officer, the Controller ordered an audit of Bell’s finances last week.

Under current law, local governments are required to transmit summary information about their revenues and expenditures to the State Controller’s office. Payroll information is included in the total amount listed for each category of program, such as public protection, health and welfare, and governing body. The data is compiled and used to produce annual reports for the Legislature. The Controller’s new rules require cities and counties to provide the salaries for each classification of elected official, such as mayor and supervisor, and public employee, such as city manager and county administrator.

City and counties generally are required to provide the information to the Controller by mid-October of each year. The Controller’s website will be updated annually to reflect the most recent data received. Local governments who fail to report timely could face a penalty of up to $5,000.

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(Announcer voice) And now… Weekend Roundup (dun dun)

After a survey of city manager salaries across the San Gabriel Valley, Pasadena and Whittier areas (coverage area for our three newspapers) none are making Bell type salaries, but no one is going hungry (or without a six figure salary) either.

Baldwin Park City Council members said Friday they want to hear from citizens before drafting a vehicle impound policy for the Police Department. Baldwin Park police Chief Lili Hadsell is scheduled to brief the council Wednesday on her department’s vehicle impound policies, according to city documents.

And yet another story that shows what goes around, probably came around because of Bell.

Amid revelations that Bell city officials skirted state salary limits by becoming a charter city, Covina council members are shying away from the idea, which was up for their consideration.

UPDATED: Local FYI: Azusa has gone dark, that is to say, they canceled their council meetings in August. La Verne canceled tonight’s council meeting, but will be meeting again on Aug. 16.

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