Nancy Johnson reconsidering Morro Bay manager hire

August 14, 2014
David Buckingham

David Buckingham

Morro Bay Councilwoman Nancy Johnson is reconsidering her vote to appoint a retiring Army colonel as the next city manager of Morro Bay now that reports have surfaced of an employment dispute between David Buckingham and the city of Bishop. [Tribune]

On Friday, the Morro Bay council voted unanimously in closed session to hire Buckingham, 49, as the city’s full-time city manger. Buckingham accepted the position on Monday, although the council must still finalize the contract in open session.

Also on Monday, the city of Bishop agreed to pay Buckingham $38,000 to settle a claim he filed over a contractual dispute. Buckingham alleges that Bishop withdrew its offer to make him their city administrator after he already signed a contract for the position.

Johnson said she only learned of the Bishop dispute on Tuesday, and had she known Friday, she would have reversed her vote.

“Regarding the issue in Bishop, we moved ahead with this without full information,” Johnson said. “That’s the thing that bothers me most.”

Johnson added that the lack of disclosure raises questions as to whether Morro Bay’s interim city manager, Ed Kreins, is properly researching candidates for the full-time position. Kreins, as assigned by the council, is in charge of conducting the search for a permanent city manager.

In addition to Buckingham’s employment dispute with Bishop, the Army colonel is also recently removed from a job loss in the military. Following a July 4, 2013 incident in Vicenza, Italy, in which Buckingham verbally quarreled with a military policeman, Army brass removed him from his position of base commander.

Buckingham has since applying for jobs in city management across the U.S.

The Morro Bay council is expected to vote on finalizing Buckingham’s contract at its Aug. 26 meeting.

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Meanwhile, Nancy has yet again reconsidered and is now a blameless dahlia

On the other Cal Coast News page with the Aug. 13 original article reporting the Morro Bay city council’s selection of a new city manager, kettle has posted an interesting question:

“Did anyone see any advertisements for the opening, any money spent on the search?

Or was there just a short list from day one?”

This, and a few other recent comments on that page, indicate that, in the minds of the public, this matter is not closed yet by any means. In fact, in response to kettle’s post, I posted this comment, which I think bears repeating now here:

“Kettle raises a very good question here. Where was the job opening advertised, for how long, and what was the text of the ad? We’ve seen statements that 50 candidates applied- if so, is that a high amount, normal, or low amount for a city manager job in a town like Morro Bay at this point in time? What was the comparative quality of those applicants and of the final candidates who were apparently interviewed?

In many states the process of hiring a city manager is an open transparent process that even makes public the names of at least the final candidates being interviewed. Was that done in the Morro Bay city manager recruitment? If not, why not?

The final candidate selected is from Virginia. Where were the other final candidates from? If the city council was inclined to select a candidate from outside of California, why did they offer the job to this one- who apparently has never worked as a city manager anywhere, much less anywhere in California? And why do they intend to offer such an exorbitant salary and benefit package to a candidate who has never served as a city manager anywhere in California or anywhere else?

If the Morro Bay city council expects us to believe that he is the best qualified candidate for their city manager job, then how bad must the rest of the applicants been? And why would the council have had such a poor crop of candidates to choose from to begin with?

Anyone familiar with Morro Bay recognizes that it is a demanding full-service city with a very challenging political environment, and it requires someone with a strong record of municipal government leadership and accomplishment to guide it into the immediate future. But the city council selected, from apparently a group of 50 applicants, someone who has never served as a city manager before in California or anywhere else. And, let’s face it- the military command structure and culture is completely different and apart from contemporary municipal government, especially in California.

Again, going back to kettle’s very pertinent question: “Did anyone see any advertisements for the opening, any money spent on the search?”

The more we see of this, the worse it looks. Somebody needs to provide some good answers here. And quickly.”

Please explain to me why the former city manager did not have to go through the vetting process you want?

And, please explain to us, what makes you think that I agreed with the process for her selection? Regardless, we’re talking about what is happening now, not what took place several years ago.

You might want to consider keeping yourself focused on things that you actually know about- if, indeed, there actually are any.

Thanks for not answering my question. What happened in the past effects what is happening now.

I did answer your question- not surprisingly, you just didn’t understand the answer. However, just for your limited ability to comprehend, allow me to point out that I didn’t approve of the process to hire her either. Foolishly, you seem to feel that two wrongs make a right.

Oh, and by the way- the appropriate phraseology for your post would have used the proper word- “affects”- not “effects.”

You certainly seemed to assume quite a bit from my one question. Thank you again for your surprisingly foolish civilized attempt to educate the masses.

You still haven’t answered my question: “What makes you think that I agreed with the process for her selection?”

Nothing made me think that you agreed with the process. It was quite clear in your original statement that you did not agree with it.

Yes, it is all George Bush’s fault.

Only if 5000 troops were killed by the selection process. And 100,000+ citizens.

George Bush does not live in Morro Bay.


As a taxpayer and having some common sense, as our city council obviously does not, I would prefer he make his fresh start in the army as a private. Morro Bay is an absolute joke.

Removed the commander of the Ederle

THE CASE. According to American sources for the moment will remain in Vicenza, but in the next few months could be transferred to the United States. David Buckingham has been relieved of his duties after the incident in the barracks on July 3 “The army has lost confidence in his abilities”

They had lost its news for about two months. Since that is the American army had decided to suspend it. It was the evening of July 3, and yesterday, after more than 60 days, came the confirmation: David Buckingham has been relieved of his duties. The “mayor in uniform” of Ederle, will not drive more than the garrison Use in Vicenza.

EPISODE. According to the organ of information of American forces overseas “Stars & Stripes,” the colonel was removed after what happened during the 4th of July, early in the barracks of a day for economic reasons. That evening Buckingham went berserk and ended up arguing (perhaps with some push, perhaps forcing the checkpoint) with the agents of the Military Police. Immediately came the decision of the Us Army Command Europe: Suspended.

INVESTIGATION CLOSED. For about two months, the US sources have remained silent. It is not got no information. In recent days the situation seemed still in progress but yesterday came the news: the investigation has been closed and Buckingham was removed. According to reports from “Stars & Stripes”, the American colonel was not raised “on charges related to behavior” criminals “,” or at least outside the law. The reason that led the American army to expel the now former commander is linked to “choices just administrative action ‘, it is learned.

LITTLE CONFIDENCE. In fact, we learn from Colonel Rumi Nielson-Green, director of public affairs for the American army in Europe, which weighed on the decision was the “lack of confidence” against David Buckingham from the armed forces commander Use in Europe Donald Campbell. Understand that the general no longer believe in the ability to command of Colonel. Sure, there are no charges against him but his behavior during the Independence Day inside the American base has obviously weighed on the decision, specific Nielson-Green. “Not to mention – said the organ of the American press – that there would be a lot of concern for the climate that would be created within the garrison with a possible return of Buckingham, after what happened.”

THE EXPLANATION. During the investigation of the American army in Europe, known as 15-6 according to the military jargon, the colonel of the Ederle tried to defend himself, answering the charges against him with determination. General Campbell took a few weeks of time to “think about the incident,” but on Friday decided to raise David Buckingham from office.

SUBSTITUTE. Campbell asked for a replacement. And in the meantime, James Wall, former deputy commander, will continue to lead the 173esima brigade. For the time being, as made ​​known by Nielson-Green, the Colonel will remain in Vicenza, and will be assigned a task compared to his level. It is not excluded, in any case, a transfer, together with the family, in the United States.

The manager we had before was to attached to the ‘old’ philosophy of the old council.

we needed to move forward and in order to do that we needed a new manager/attorney.

Blue skies ahead.

Yup…a new manager who will do the same thing you accused the the old manager of doing, attaching himself to the council. And if he doesn’t, they’ll fire him…just like you did the old one.

Such hypocrisy.

I just didn’t see what the problem was with the city manager we had,I had always thought Andrea had done a good job for the city,the new folks that got elected didn’t know much about running a small city such as this,just because this guy had worked for PG&E didn’t qualify him to run a city,the same holds true for the guy they offered a job to that came from the military no experience at all in this type of work,this is just the latest in screwups this council has done to MB since the election. Andrea’s salary was in 150,000 range,the new salary for this guy,who most likely is getting a retirement from us the taxpayer already starts at 160 big and we’re throwing more money at him for a health plan but he is going to partake in the taxpayer plan the military has on him,does any of this sound like a good idea.

The only good thought I had about this was that this guy wasn’t one of irons cronies.

The total actual cost to the City of Morro Bay for Andrea was $218,986. The total actual cost for David Buckingham is $199,183.

You must be on the inside MF, since the contract with the relieved colonel hasn’t been confirmed, hope you’re not getting inside information from closed session from someone!

It was easy research, google it.

WE don’t know what anyone ‘knew’!! I am sure there will be plenty of information coming from every direction. I’m looking forward to Sept 29th, when we get to meet our new Manager, Mr. Buckingham. Let’s think positively for a change and hear what he has to say about making a fresh start in Morro Bay!!.

And I do applaud Nancy Johnson, who voted in support of this candidate initially, – yes in support with the other 4 members of council, but based on this additional information she had the courage to change her mind. And it takes courage to do that – lets hope some of the others have the courage to do that and take a second look at this situation.

If she gives George a cracker he might do it too.

We can talk about elections and who won and who didn’t, but the real issue here is why did this information NOT come out prior to the city council’s decision to hire. A professional, experienced search firm (who ALL other cities in the county has used for such a high profile position and may cities use professional search firms for their department heads as well) would fully investigate and research the final candidate – usually taking up to a week or so, which didn’t occur in this case. A professional, experienced search firm would also ask the candidate – “when people google you and look into your background, what will they fine as we don’t want any surprises, that clearly did not happen here. A professional, experienced search firm would inform the city council of ALL issues prior to having them make a decision, clearly that did not happen here. So is this candidate a good fit for Morro Bay – I don’t know, but I do have concerns about how this most important employment search was done. The best option is to start over with a professional, experienced search firm and see what sort of candidates they can draw. Will this take time – yes, but based on the community tenor in the last 9 months, having a controversial start for a city manager makes no sense. Lets see if they do the right thing?

Drama Queen and dragging down the council with those ‘old’ members just gets in everyone’s way. Let’s move forward and get some work done. Mr. Buckingham will take care of himself and be of value to our community.

You of all people “Let’s move forward and get some work done.” Lol

So do as I say, not as I do, is the way of the bay?