Councilman says Seal Beach city manager has been overpaid

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Seal Beach District 4 Councilman Gary Miller said last week that City Manger David Carmany was overpaid by about $9,000, spread out over a period of about 15 months.

Miller made his remarks during the Monday, July 12 City Council meeting.

Staff will report to the next council meeting about a pay raise Carmany received in April 2009.

Miller is a long-time critic of the city manager. He has called for multiple reviews of Carmany’s job performance.

Miller, responding to comments made at the June council meeting by College Park East resident Patty Campbell, reviewed the pay raises received by Carmany since he started working for Seal Beach in 2007.

Campbell said Carmany had given himself raises without approval by the council.

At the time, Bridgeport resident Robert Goldberg said he believed Carmany’s pay raises were allowed under the contract. That night, and again on July 12, Goldberg expressed concern that one of the pay raises may have been too large. He believed the large increase was based on an honest mistake.

On July 12, Goldberg said the error had been confirmed by staff and the city manger. Goldberg asked that the error be corrected.

Last week, Miller said Campbell had probably based her remarks on her experience when she was a council member. She may not have been aware of changes in the way the city manager’s raises were approved.

Miller said the current contract with the city manager could be improved.

Miller said that when former Seal Beach City Manager John Bahorski left to become Cypress city manager, Bahorski’s annual salary was $162,588. Carmany started on June 4, 2007 at $175,000.

He said one month after that, Carmany took an 8 percent increase that Miller believed was intended for Bahorski.

In a telephone interview on Monday, July 19, 2010 Miller explained that Bahorski’s salary was supposed to go up in July 2007. Miller said that pay raise was approved by a subordinate of Carmany, not the council.

Miller went on to say Carmany and executive management received a 3.7 percent cost of living adjustment in July 2008.

Later, Miller pointed out that when Carmany negotiates on behalf of executive management, Carmany is entitled to the same benefit under the contract. Miller said he believes that is a conflict of interest. He also said that was the way the contract was written up for a city manager.

Miller said the city manager’s salary should be approved by the council. He also said he thinks the contract should be revisited.

Miller also asked for an investigation of the April 2009 pay raise. Miller said the city had overpaid Carmany by about $9,000 over the past 15 months.

In other news:

• The council approved a proposal, first made by Miller, to extend the length of time the city stores video recordings of council meetings. According to a staff report, council minutes are summaries rather than detailed transcripts of the meetings. Eldon Alexander and Goldberg both supported keeping the recordings—now stored on DVDs—for 10 years. Councilman Gordon Shanks suggested that when the 11th year came, the city give the recordings to the Seal Beach Historical Society. Miller also raised the suggestion that the staff make recordings of council meetings available to the public.

• The city accepted a $10,325 donation from the Friends of the Library for improvements to the Mary Wilson branch.

• A review of the city budget was pulled from the council agenda at the request of the staff. The budget will be reviewed at the August council meeting.

• Carmany survived another job performance review that was held in closed session that night. The closed session had to be recessed so the council could meet publicly in regular session. When the regular session was over, the council returned to the closed meeting.

Councilman says Seal Beach city manager has been overpaid