Some signs are pointing to the end of the career for the current City Manager of the City of Oxnard. At least that is my interpretation of the most recent news on the Ventura County Star, indicating Oxnard Mayor Tom Holden is requesting a special meeting tonight to evaluate the performance and consider the possible dismissal of Oxnard City Manager Ed Sotelo. Consideration for dismissal by the Mayor appears to be as a result of a hiring decision that was made with the Council’s input.
According to the article…
The agenda item reads: “Evaluate the performance of the City Manager; consider the discipline, dismissal or release of the City Manager; and consider the appointment of an Interim City Manager.”
Earlier this week, Holden cited a 1988 city administrative manual that requires the city manager to consult with the council and get its concurrence in the hiring of city department heads. But state law in Oxnard’s city manager form of government calls for the city manager to hire and fire all department heads. In practice, the administrative manual hasn’t been followed for at least the past decade.
It will be fascinating to see how this unfolds, especially after Simi Valley’s heated election and some of the remarks made about not only the Council, but also about City Management.
Though I could never get anyone to go on record, I frequently received anonymous notes from people detailing Simi Valley City Manager’s total compensation. The document was never on official City letterhead, making me unsure of it’s authenticity. Plus, the figure was different than what had been published elsewhere. Nevertheless, the very fact that the document was being passed around along with the very clear notes that accompanied the document sent a clear message. Some people out there believe City Manager Mike Sedell’s compensation is too high and they want something done about it.
Up until this week, it seemed pretty clear to me that our City Council was very supportive of our City Manager. In fact, if you take a swipe at him in the comments section of this blog, Councilwoman Barbra Williamson is often first to come to his defense, telling readers how hard he works for the Council and the City. Other Council Members have been equally complimentary about City Manager Sedell, in interviews and in conversation. This week, however, two new members have joined our City Council. I have no official word from either on how they feel about Sedell and its likely that neither will have an official opinion until spending more time on the Council.
The situation in Oxnard clearly demonstrates how a City’s management is accountable to the City Council. No decision to dismiss Oxnard City Manager Sotelo can be made without a majority vote from the Oxnard City Council, so it seems we’ll know his fate by the morning.