Oxnard’s City Manager Shake-up

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.

6 thoughts on “Oxnard’s City Manager Shake-up

  1. Oxnard’s Mayor only recently developed a rift with Ed Sotelo all based on performance and policy issues. Not salary based like in Simi. Nothing like this will go down with Simi’s city manager.

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  2. Simi Valley Municipal Code Section 2-6.211 reads in applicable part,

    [T]he City Manager shall not be removed from office during or within a period of ninety (90) days next succeeding any general municipal election held in the City at which election a member of the Council is elected. The purpose of the provisions of this section is to allow any newly-elected member of the Council or a reorganized Council to observe the actions and ability of the City Manager in the performance of the powers and duties of his office. After the expiration of such ninety (90) day period, the provisions of Section 2-6.210 of this article shall apply and be effective.

    In other words, no discussion re City Manager’s performance until at least Feb 2, 2011.

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  3. “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.”

    You wonder who creaTED such a document. How does such misinformation get disseminaTED? I am most fascinaTED. Interesting how such false documents get distribuTED to blogs.

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  4. Such childish comments. If you notice the gang does not like my comments because they are true and they have no real response. The problem with the rating is that the gang can hide comments that they don’t want others to see. It is good for letting people show that they don’t like the childish personal attacks though.

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  5. See how the gang tries to block posts?

    The Acorn article is interesting. Why is it that a Chief of Police gets the same benefits as a part time Council Member/Mayor? Yes, I am talking about what Miller gets for the two different positions.

    Just because Simi Valley is not as bad as other Cities does not mean that it is right or acceptable, but it seems that some people want to view in that way.

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