Praising City Manager Alex McIntyre for creativity and innovation in changing the duties of the assistant city manager, the Menlo Park City Council on Sept. 8 unanimously voted to increase the salary for the vacant position.
Council member Rich Cline was absent from the meeting.
Mr. McIntyre had asked the council to approve amending the city's salary schedule to increase the maximum salary for the assistant city manager position by 5.5 percent, from $189,216 a year to $199,623.
The council members not only approved the increased compensation, but had high praise for the changes Mr. McIntyre has made in the job description. He said the new assistant city manager will oversee public works and community development. The previous assistant city manager, Starla Jerome-Robinson, who retired on July 31, managed administrative services and special projects.
To take on the management of the administrative services departments, Mr. McIntrye is changing the title of the finance director job to administrative services director, with no proposed change in the salary range for the job.
Mr. McIntyre recently hired former Portola Valley Town Manger Nick Pegueros to fill the administrative services director position on an interim basis. Mr. Pegueros' "involuntary resignation" from his Portola Valley post was announced Aug. 12.
The city has lost four top managers since July and Mr. McIntrye said he is "seizing the opportunity during these vacancies to do some reorganizing." The new assistant manager will "oversee some of the council's key goals for the next couple of years, dealing with development and capital projects," he said.
Councilman Ray Mueller was supportive. "I wanted to thank you for being innovative and refashioning the position," he said, adding that the change addresses issues that are "really vital right now at this juncture and this point in our city's history.
Increasing the salary for the assistant city manager should help "Mr. McIntyre to find the best candidate possible ... to plan innovative and effective solutions to address the traffic issues within our city's borders, which I believe is imperative to protect our residents' quality of life," Mr. Mueller said.
Council members said they also liked the fact that with the change in responsibilities, developers will be asked to pay for the time the assistant city manager spends on their projects. "It's fair to assume that any increase here will be offset by developer charges," Mr. McIntyre said.
Mayor Catherine Carlton was also supportive. "I want to thank you for your creativity and making sure we've align staff job specifications with our needs," she said.
In his staff report to the council, Mr. McIntrye said the recruitment of an assistant city manager "is likely to be highly competitive," especially because nearby cities, including Sunnyvale and Mountain View, are trying to fill the same position. A maximum salaries of $219,938 is being offered in Sunnyvale and $205,619 in Mountain View, as well as "more generous fringe benefit packages ... particularly in the area of retirement," he said.
Top managers depart
In addition to the retirement of the assistant city manager, three other top managers have left. Mr. McIntyre announced Aug. 27 that Human Resources Director Gina Donnelly is leaving her position for a new job in Monterey. Public Works Director Jesse Quirion left the city Aug. 20 for a job with Google in Tennessee, while Finance Director Drew Corbett left Aug. 14 to work for the city of San Mateo.
When he announced Ms. Donnelly's departure, Mr. McIntyre also made a number of interim management changes. Police Commander Dave Bertini was named interim human resources director, with retired Menlo Park Police Commander Terri Molakides temporarily filling in for Commander Bertini. Ann Stillman, San Mateo County's deputy director of public works, will work three-quarters time for Menlo Park as interim public works director until a permanent replacement for Mr. Quirion can be found. Clay Curtin, Mr. McIntyre's assistant to the city manager, was named interim finance director.