News


Former Portola Valley town manager has interim job with Menlo Park

Nick Pegueros is interim administrative services director

Nick Pegueros, whose "involuntary resignation" as the Portola Valley Town Manager was announced Aug. 12, has been named the interim administrative services director in Menlo Park, City Manager Alex McIntyre announced Aug. 25.

Mr. Pegueros will partially fill the role left vacant by Starla Jerome-Robinson's recent retirement. Ms. Jerome-Robinson was assistant city manager as well as administrative services director, but Mr. Pegueros will not take on the assistant city manager role. He will coordinate human resources, finance and information technology services, according to Mr. McIntyre.

Mr. Pegueros' resignation as the Portola Valley town manager was announced by the Portola Valley Town Council in a prepared statement on Aug. 12, saying that "at the request of Nick Pegueros" the council "requested the involuntary resignation of the Town Manager and the Manager resigned, effective immediately."

Mr. McIntyre said he had spoken to Mr. Pegueros about the circumstances of his resignation from the Portola Valley position. "I am aware of Nick's situation in Portola Valley and none of it has to do with his ability to do the job I need to have him do," Mr. McIntyre said.

"He has explained it to me and I have had his explanation affirmed by a separate source," he said.

"I don't know the details of why the Portola Valley council did what it did and that's not my business," Mr. McIntyre said. Mr. McIntyre served as town administrator for Portola Valley from 1997 to 2000.

Mr. McIntyre said that with the recent loss of three high-level city administrators, including Public Works Director Jesse Quirion, Assistant City Manager Starla Jerome-Robinson and Finance Director Drew Corbett, "I need help."

"I am happy about my appointment of Nick," he said. "For Nick it's a trial run, he gets to test us out; we get to test him out."

Mr. Pegueros was hired on a contract that will expire at the end of the calendar year, with an option for renewal if both parties agree, Mr. McIntyre said. Mr. Pegueros' salary is approximately $170,000 a year. He began working for the city on Aug. 25.

The city also announced that Clay Curtin will become the interim finance director. Mr. Curtin has been assistant to the city manager since 2013. He had also worked in Southern California for the cities of West Covina and Manhattan Beach and has a bachelor's degree from Washburn University and a master's degree from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.

Mr. McIntyre said that while Mr. Curtin has a "limited background" in finance, he is "a good manager." He will be reporting to Mr. Pegueros, who has an extensive background in finance, Mr. McIntyre said.

In addition to serving as town manager in Portola Valley, Mr. Pegueros was finance and administrative services director in Los Altos Hills and assistant finance director for the city of San Bruno. He has a bachelor's degree from Columbia University and a master's degree from the University of Washington.

Comments

17 people like this
Posted by Why???
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 26, 2015 at 10:04 am

Can someone please explain how hiring someone who did not succeed in Portola Valley makes sense for Menlo Park?


3 people like this
Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 26, 2015 at 10:17 am

Why???
Why? Because it's Menlo Park. Enough said.


14 people like this
Posted by Concerned Citizen
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 26, 2015 at 10:59 am

This is VERY troubling. Mr. Pegueros left his position in PV under a shroud of secrecy. That is a fact. Apparently there is a non-disclosure/confidentiality agreement between him and the City of PV. Presumedly, no one in Menlo Park governance or administration is privy to that agreement, as it would violate the terms of the agreement.

So, how were the Menlo Park hiring decision makers able to perform their due diligence before hiring/contracting Mr. Pegueros?

I have no idea why Mr. Pegueros left his position in PV. I assume that it was not for personal health or family issues, as he is working again, very near by. I can only guess it was performance-related, and that makes me very concerned. It was reported that Mr. Pegueros requested to be terminated of his position. Perhaps he was the victim of being harassed or had a conflict of interest with a constituent? Such employment contracts as his often terminate early also due to financial malfeasance and harassment issues, punctuated with a confidentiality agreement. Making a hiring decision in such a vacuum is irresponsible.

I just do not see how our MP government could hire Mr. Pegueros. He may very well be a competent bureaucrat, but by signing a confidentiality agreement he has damaged his future prospects to clear his name. Lack of transparency does not serve him or the public.

I hope our City Council acts promptly on this poor administration decision. The only acceptable outcomes to this situation are that the public be fully informed as to the nature of Mr. Pegueros's termination with PV, or our City politely revoke its offer to Mr. Pegueros while the ink is still wet (and btw, not pay any damages or severance for this poor decision).


5 people like this
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Aug 26, 2015 at 11:33 am

pogo is a registered user.

Well done, Menlo Park. Your citizens deserve the government they tolerate.


9 people like this
Posted by Gina
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Aug 26, 2015 at 12:15 pm

Oh please tell me Menlo Park ran a thorough background check, and this person disclosed the reason he left Portola Valley! Where is the transparency here?


13 people like this
Posted by Not acceptable
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 26, 2015 at 12:26 pm

This is simply not acceptable, without full disclosure of why Portola Valley dismissed Mr. Nick Pegueros.

Come on council, this appointment must be vetted in full.


9 people like this
Posted by PVPerson
a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge
on Aug 26, 2015 at 12:42 pm

As a local of PV, I can say that all of us who live here would like to know why Nick was fired. I don't know of anyone who had any kind of negative interaction with him, and it seemed like he was doing a good job.

The "shroud of secrecy" is just that. We deserve to know why he was let go; so does Menlo Park. IF there is a no-discussion confidentiality agreement, why was he able to discuss it with Mr. McIntire, and why was Mr. McIntire able to confirm the circumstances.

Very interesting that Mr. McIntire was Town Manager for PV 15 years ago. Nothing weird about it, just interesting that he, also, left PV for Menlo Park. Are we a difficult town to work for? I, too, thought I remembered that Nick requested to be fired, and I did wonder what pushed him to that, since he got a raise in April, and the Town Council seemed very happy with his work. What was the catalyst? Why was it unimportant enough for him to be hired by another community?


15 people like this
Posted by Stu Soffer
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Aug 26, 2015 at 12:45 pm

Stu Soffer is a registered user.

That isn't due diligence. It's odd, and leaves open unanswered legitimate questions.

Was Menlo Park in discussions with Mr. Pegueros before he left Portola Valley?

Were current finance department staff members considered for promotion first to interim finance director?







7 people like this
Posted by Scholar
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 26, 2015 at 1:13 pm

Perhaps a bad choice, but also the $170,000 salary seems very high to me for an admin director position in a small city.


7 people like this
Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Aug 26, 2015 at 1:18 pm

Michael G. Stogner is a registered user.

Welcome to San Mateo County, This is how we do it.


12 people like this
Posted by Downtowner
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 26, 2015 at 1:32 pm

This is absolutely irresponsible! Pegueros can spin any tale he likes for McIntyre because the "non-disclosure" agreement with PV prevents PV from confirming or denying any of Pegueros's claims. Without verification of cause, why is McIntyre buying PV's problem?
In school district & law enforcement, such terminations are often handled this way to avoid lengthy public litigation. A recent "termination" settlement & non-disclosure in a neighboring school district, was done to prevent serious sexual harassment & misbehavior from becoming pubic knowledge. Ironically, that administrator had been terminated for the same reasons from his previous district. (After a couple of years, he's now got a new school administration job closer to San Francisco.)
Financial malfeasance or suspicions of such are another reason for this kind of agreement. In return for partial or full restitution, an ex-employee gets this kind of sealed settlement & avoids prosecution.
Mr. Pegueros might be a fine employee but without transparency & full disclosure that cannot be known. What gives McIntyre such privileged insight? All new hires should be thoroughly vetted and have verifiable satisfactory-or-better references from recent & immediately previous employers.


2 people like this
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Aug 26, 2015 at 1:55 pm

pogo is a registered user.

The terms of a confidentiality agreement often state that the parties may not disclose the details unless disclosed to a new (third) party that is similarly bound by a confidentiality agreement.

It would be malpractice if a potential employer failed to ask the reason for a prior termination. If the candidate refused to provide an answer, that failure would certainly be sufficient for rejecting the candidate. Of course, the candidate and his potential employer (Menlo Park) could have entered into a confidentiality agreement which would permit disclosure by the candidate to the new employer and prevent any further public disclosures.


10 people like this
Posted by hmmm
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Aug 26, 2015 at 2:25 pm

Does this mean that for the next 6 months Mr. Pegueros receives both his severance pay of $100K from PV plus his new salary of $170K from MP? Meanwhile teachers, etc. are struggling to remain living in this area with a meager cost of living (3%) raise. Hmmm...


4 people like this
Posted by Linda Craig
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Aug 26, 2015 at 2:56 pm

I am pleased with the selection of Nick Pegueros by Menlo Park. He has experience in this field, he is available, and Menlo Park needs to cover its management vacancies. City Manager, Alex McIntyre,knows the situation from his own experience in Portola Valley, and subsequent inquiries.

People in city management often have differences in expectation or style with their Councils over time. It is not a competence issue, and definitely not due to other implied issues.

Nick will help in the transition, given all of the management vacancies in Menlo Park.

Linda Craig, former Town Clerk-Chief Administrative Officer, Portola Valley (1976-81)


1 person likes this
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Aug 26, 2015 at 3:22 pm

pogo is a registered user.

hmmmm - yes, most definitely. Severance is paid regardless of the terminated person's ability to get another job.

Life is good for public "servants."


4 people like this
Posted by Nothing illegal
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 26, 2015 at 6:30 pm

So what, the guy was fired in P.V., but it's not like he was arrested or had the DA declare that he did anything illegal. That's the new low bar set by our City Council in keeping our City Manager around, so why shouldn't the City Manager hire someone, um just as qualified?!


6 people like this
Posted by Robert
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 27, 2015 at 7:00 am

Question for MP City Council:
Why are all the higher level administrators leaving? Most were long time employees and now under the McIntyre administration - they've left. This is NOT a coincidence.


3 people like this
Posted by Nothing illegal
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 27, 2015 at 7:53 am

Staff were likely waiting for City Council to start searching for a new City Manager - staff were holding on until McIntyre was replaced, now instead practically the entire senior City staff are fleeing.


9 people like this
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Aug 27, 2015 at 7:58 am

pogo is a registered user.

The guy did nothing illegal? How would you know? Its confidential unless the new employer insisted on full disclosure.

The guy may have been a jerk, dishonest or disrespectful or just difficult to work with. He was terminated for a reason and that is probably something an employer would want to know. If the reason is understandable or excusable, they would certainly want to know that as well.


8 people like this
Posted by anonymous
a resident of another community
on Aug 27, 2015 at 10:22 am

It is not a coincidence that staff are fleeing. Look at when it started & how many have submitted their resignations since the head honcho's contract was renewed. Wake up City Council and do something!


7 people like this
Posted by Downtowner
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 27, 2015 at 1:21 pm

@ Pogo -

So if The confidential details were shared confidentially with McIntyre, a previous dismissee, does that leave the merits of the case & hiring decision solely in McIntyre's hands? McIntyre's got a taint already, which isn't getting better.


2 people like this
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Aug 27, 2015 at 4:39 pm

pogo is a registered user.

It depends on the settlement and the confidentiality terms.

Often the details can be disclosed to people who are bound by a similar confidentiality agreement. If the Menlo Park Council is a party to the confidentiality agreement, they can be told as well.

My point is that no employer would ever hire someone who was just fired without asking why. If Menlo Park was unaware of the circumstances of this person's termination in Portola Valley, in my opinion they would have committed managerial malpractice.


6 people like this
Posted by Huh?
a resident of another community
on Aug 27, 2015 at 9:51 pm

Can we take a step back for a second? Private parties, two private citizens, a private company and an employee, can protect disclosure with confidentiality agreements.

Can a public agency avoid disclosing items of public interest or concern by entering into confidentiality agreements with individuals? That's not so clear.

The public records act in California states there are certain categories of information that a public agency can NEVER exempt from disclosure. There is also a lot of wiggle room for public agencies to claim exemptions, but if the person (or hopefully newspaper) requesting is willing to challenge that in court, it's a different story.

Here's an idea: the citizens of Menlo Park and/or Portola Valley could start a ballot measure to declare that the settlement agreement here must be released to the public as an item of public interest. Mr. Pegueros could and perhaps would go to court to try to limit the disclosure if this passed, but I have a feeling a lot more information would wind up getting released and it would send a strong message that this public business is actually the public's business, with a corresponding public right to know.


9 people like this
Posted by fed up
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 27, 2015 at 10:20 pm

"I don't know the details of why the Portola Valley council did what it did and that's not my business," Mr. McIntyre said. Uh - excuse me SO WRONG! Its absolutely your business if your doing your job. If you can't get the information because of a confidentiality agreement than hire someone else. What a lazy effort at a hiring process by McIntyre. As far from due diligence as one can get. This further confirms that McIntyre's contract should have never been renewed.


8 people like this
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Aug 28, 2015 at 7:37 am

pogo is a registered user.

No employer would ever hire someone who was just fired from their last job without asking why.

If Menlo Park officials were unaware of the reasons for Pegueros' termination in Portola Valley, in my opinion they have committed managerial malpractice. Should Pegueros experience be repeated in Menlo Park, they only have themselves to blame.

As an employer, I don't care if the information is protected by a confidentiality agreement. If they candidate won't tell me, I'm not hiring him. The confidentiality agreement is his problem, not mine.


6 people like this
Posted by Robert
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 28, 2015 at 10:57 am

The bigger question is: Why are all of the upper management people leaving?


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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