The Seal Beach City Council added the position of “assistant city manager” to the city’s job classification program on Monday, Feb. 14.
The change of job title from “assistant to city manager” is not merely cosmetic—it comes with a pay raise as well as what amounts to a promotion for the current Assistant City Manager Jill Ingram.
“Historically in the city of Seal Beach, the position that currently exists as assistant to the city manager has functioned with the title, duties and responsibilities of assistant city manager,” wrote Patrick Importuna, the city interim city manager, in his staff report to the council.
According to the Importuna report, in April 2008 David Carmany, who was city manger at the time, asked the council to downgrade the position to assistant to the city manager for budgetary reasons.
Importuna wrote that the proposed “amendment” to the job classification was cost neutral due to the cost savings realized by Carmany’s departure.
Local budget watcher and Bridgeport resident disagreed.
“However, this savings is not quantified and is clearly temporary.
Therefore, the costs of the proposed pay grade increase should be quantified and considered,” Goldberg wrote in an e-mail to city officials.
According to Goldberg, the annual cost of reclassifying Ingram’s position would be $8,514 in the first year and $27,556 in the fourth year.
Importuna’s staff report said Ingram has been functioning as a department head since October 2008. She serves as acting city manager during the city manager’s absence.
Interim City Manager Importuna is only available Mondays thru Wednesdays.
The report argued that Ingram’s duties warrant a change in job title.
Goldberg disagreed with that assessment during the public comment segment of the council meeting.
“I appreciate that these increase demands are not easy for our assistant to the city manager and I am told that she has been doing a very good job,” he said.
“However, from my perspective as someone who has worked in government management for 24 years, having to ‘step up’ when your boss quits or goes out on extended medical leave is just part of the job when you make over six figures as a manager,” he said.
Goldberg argued that Ingram’s additional duties did not warrant an immediate 5 percent pay increase.
“One you raise someone’s pay, it is very difficult to lower it, especially in government,” he said.
Goldberg also objected to another change in the job. Under the new classification, the city treasurer would answer to the assistant to the city manager rather than directly to the city manager.
Goldberg felt that the treasurer should answer directly to the city manager.
Mike Buhbe, another Seal Beach activist, also said he thinks the city’s financial officer should report directly to the city manager.
The job classification amendment was originally a consent calendar item.
However, departing District 1 Councilman Charles Antos asked that the item be pulled so he could comment.
Antos said he had considered the comments about the proposal. He then moved that the council approve the amendment to the job classification.
The council voted 5-0 in favor of the change.
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