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S.P. City Council approves Fontes’ contract, rejects Hernandez’s request for delay

November 23, 2012
Santa Paula City Council

There was no discussion by the City Council Monday when they unanimously approved a new three-year contract for City Manager Jaime Fontes, although a newly elected councilman did comment.

The council approved the new contract despite a request from Martin Hernandez, who will replace Councilman Fred Robinson on the council in December, that the council delay their action on the contract, which takes full effect in February, until he is sworn in.

As part of the contract, which runs through February 2016, Fontes will get a 5 percent pay raise; he joined the city in February 2010 at an annual salary of $155,000 a year.

Fontes’ new contract also calls for another increase tied in to salary adjustments that will be given to city employees effective January 1. 

Although the contract does not specify how much the adjustment will be the MOU it refers to was part of a citywide cut of employees’ salaries of 5 percent to help deal with a looming fiscal crisis. Fontes was the only city employee not to take the cut; the council said at that time that instead Fontes would forego a 5 percent pay increase. 

Aside from the total 10 percent increase in pay Fontes will also get a $450 a month car allowance, $100 more a month than the present $350 car allowance accorded department heads. 

Although Fontes’ original contract did not call out specific percentage steps in raises, the new agreement stipulates that Fontes will receive a 5 percent a year increase each year upon a positive performance evaluation.

The previous contract matched the percentage amount of such increases to those of the city’s management team.

The contract was on the council agenda as a Consent Calendar item, those issues considered routine and not warranting discussion or comment before approval.

Hernandez, whose public comment request caused the item to be pulled, said he was “Respectfully requesting” and would “appreciate” that Fontes’ contract be delayed until he is seated on the council. 

“I would like every opportunity to participate in this decision and the opportunity on behalf of the many residents,” that Hernandez said contacted him about Fontes’ proposed contract “that are concerned about this and wanting more information... “

Hernandez said he also wanted more information regarding the contract including, “Knowledge of what was discussed in closed session, past performance and evaluations of the city manager... and have the opportunity to vote on same.”

“Thank you very much... with that I move,” the item, said Mayor Bob Gonzales, a motion that was seconded by Councilman Jim Tovias.

The full council approved the motion.





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