New council defines city manager pay
By Jean McLeod — Wednesday, January 9th, 2013
Question of former manager’s quick exit still looms
Alex Molkoy questioned the Council on expenses at 338 Central asking what revenue the City was receiving from that address and why the City was paying the utilities.
During Tuesday night’s council meeting the Fillmore Flashes Cross Country team each receive a proclamation for winning the State Division 4 CIF Championship.
A proclamation was presented to Brian Sipes for the effort put forward with the Fillmore Film Commission and the success they achieved. The removal of the palm trees has generated a very welcome increase in revenue to the City.
There were very few who attended the first Fillmore City Council Meeting of 2013, but the new Council wasted little time in getting down to City business and their council duties. One of those duties was replacing the vacant positions on various committees with new people and another was addressing the interim/temporary City Manager position now being filled by the City’s Fire Chief Rigo Landeros.
The meeting began with two proclamations. The first went to Council Member Brian Sipes for the effort put forward with the Fillmore Film Commission and the success they achieved. The removal of the palm trees has generated a very welcome increase in revenue to the City. Sipes responded, “I’m deeply honored with this proclamation” and stated that thanks should also go to both Gayle Washburn and Catherine Frias who also put in a great amount of effort. The second proclamation went to the Flashes, Fillmore High School Cross Country Team, who won the State Division 4 CIF Championship.
The next agenda item was an employment agreement for the Interim City Manager. The position is now being filled by Rigo Landeros. Landeros who now holds three City positions, has been the Fire Chief since May 28, 2009, the Public Works Director since January 15, 2010, and Acting City Manager since August 21, 2012. The Council agreed to a total salary payable to Landeros at $10,000 per month which is $1,000 more than the combined salary Landeros received for Fire Chief and Public Works Director. This is a bargain for the City and essentially means that Fillmore is getting a City Manager for $1,000 per month. Council Member Manuel Minjares said Landeros stepped up at a very difficult time and Council Member A. Eduardo Gonzalez commented that Landeros is handling all three positions and worth what is being asked. Council Member Brian Sipes said he thought the $10k per month was too high, but approved it stating, “It’s a hard decision…..I am confident Rigo will fill his responsibilities.” Council Member Douglas Tucker responded that Rigo is definitely worth what he’s being given but wanted a clearer understanding of the contract along with a 60 day trigger or “reminder” that would require the contract be addressed within 60 days of a new City Manager being hired. The added time is given so Landeros can help bring the new City Manager up on where or what is happening in Fillmore.
Landeros has received some guidance and coaching from Mike Sedell, former City Manager of Simi Valley who is helping during the interim at no cost to Fillmore. Many of those who attended the meeting repeatedly thanked Sedell for his help and recognized his generosity and contribution to keeping Fillmore on track after former City Manager Yvonne Quiring left so abruptly.
Raylene Chaney asked whether the $10,000 per month salary given Landeros was for all three jobs and if others covering some of his responsibility are receiving some compensation to cover his vacancy. She then asked if Landeros had also received 30 days of coaching from the former City Manager Yvonne Quiring.
Back in September of 2012 Fillmore City Manager Yvonne Quiring resigned her position to take a job as Assistant City Manager of Davis, California, giving the City of Fillmore a 30 day notice, but Quiring used her vacation time to cover the last 14 days of that 30 day notice and left abruptly. At the time some on the City Council denied that Quiring had left town before the 30 days had been completed. At the September 25, 2012 City Council Meeting former Council Member Laurie Hernandez addressed the Council on a different issue during public comments asking why the questions she had asked at the previous meeting held on September 11th were not on the agenda as she had been told, at that time, they would be on the agenda. City Attorney Tiffany Israel then responded to Hernandez stating that Quiring would answer her questions in writing. Hernandez then responded to the Council, “I don’t know how she could respond when she knew her last day was last Friday.” Gayle Washburn, who was mayor at that time, responded, “No her last day isn’t until October 1, 2012.” Hernandez then said, “She’s on vacation days.” To which Washburn responded “No” while shaking her head and then repeated the response saying “No” again to the question of whether Quiring was around and reaffirmed her position that Quiring had not taken vacation days before leaving. Hernandez then asked Washburn why there was a need for an Interim-City Manager instead of Quiring if Quiring was still working for the City. Washburn responded that Landeros “is different” and he was an “acting City Manager.” But according to Fillmore City Hall paperwork dated January 8, 2013 Agenda Item 7E from that same City Attorney Tiffany Israel, Quiring had left Fillmore on September 15, 2012 quote: “Although the resignation of the City’s prior City Manager was effective as of October 1, 2012, the prior City Manager was away from the City on leave as August 21-28, 2012, September 4-5 and departed the City as of September 15, 2012”end quote. Why did Washburn deny that Quiring had left? Also, Council Member Sipes at the time was renting a house to Quiring and surly knew if Quiring had left town, yet he stayed quiet and did not respond to the questions Hernandez had asked.
During the council meeting’s public comment section Alex Molkoy questioned the Council on expenses at 338 Central asking what revenue the City was receiving from that address and why the City was paying the utilities. Landeros told Molkoy that the City would get back to him on those questions. Molkoy then suggested the City relinquish some of its assets such as this property and get “pro-active” with the RDA (previous Redevelopment Agency now Successor Agency) by selling them. He then told the Council that he had received a past due notice on his water bill and stated, “I’m not privy to a $10,000 per month job” and that he earns what he sells. At this point Molkoy became quite upset and City Attorney Israel interjected telling Molkoy he was allowed to make public comments, but not to ask questions. To which Molkoy responded that maybe Council Member Gonzalez can answer why my water is being shut off and then asked Gonzalez how much he owed. About this time Israel motioned to Police Chief Monica McGrath to deal with Molkoy, and McGrath escorted him out of the chamber. Molkoy returned a short time later without incident.
Citizen Washburn addressed the new Council on where the various commissions are at present and what seats and positions need to be filled. She stressed the importance of someone from Fillmore being on the Air Quality Board and informed the Council that Fillmore is second on the list of worst polluted air in the County with Simi Valley being the first. Fillmore’s bad air quality is due to Highway 126’s constant diesel trucks and highway traffic running through town.
The Council then elected/selected the commissions and committees; Finance Committee: Rick Neal, Douglas Tucker; Chamber of Commerce: Rick Neal, Douglas Tucker; Film Commission: Brian Sipes, Manuel Minjares; North Fillmore: Manuel Minjares, Douglas Tucker; Parks and Recreation: Manuel Minjares (alternate open); Planning Commission: Douglas Tucker, Manuel Minjares; School Board Liaison: Manuel Minjares; Animal Regulation Commission: Brian Sipes; Air Pollution Control District: Douglas Tucker (this position must be approved by the County Supervisor); Economic Development: Rick Neal, Douglas Tucker; Heritage Valley Tourism Borough: Rick Neal, Eduardo Gonzalez; Ventura County Regional Emergency Alliance: Brian Sipes, Douglas Tucker; Ventura Regional Sanitation: Rick Neal, Douglas Tucker; Ventura County Transportation Commission: Manuel Minjares, Douglas Tucker.
Police Chief McGrath addressed the Council on the success of the Public Safety Toy and Food Give Away held on December 19th at the Fillmore Fire Department. A total of 252 families that included 314 adults and 657 Children were served. This is the largest toy drive in the County and since its beginning in 1995 has presented a total of 16,615 children with toys. Toys, Christmas trees, cotton candy, candy canes, photos with Santa and fresh chickens were given away to all the families which attended. McGrath wanted to give a special thank you to the coordinators Max Pena, Patrick Maynard and Leo Vasquez for the time and hard work putting the event together and all the volunteers which included the Fillmore Sheriffs Explorers and Fillmore Future Farmers of America which helped make it a success. Others who contributed were Laura and Scott Beylik who provided popcorn and Sespe 4-H who provided cotton candy. Businesses and organizations which donated were: Fillmore Rotary (Morning & Noontime), Fillmore Lions Club, Scott Lee and Family, Mount Vista Booster Club (note of special thanks to Grandma Lou’s cinnamon bun sales in October), Fillmore Fire Department, Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, Ventura County Sheriff’s Search and rescue, Salvation Army of Simi Valley, CHP-Moorpark Station, Saint Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, Ventura County Probation Department, 27 Community Volunteers, Santa - Joe Woods, and Santa’s Helper Elf - Jake Woods.