Morro Bay hires department head in closed process

June 16, 2015

Morro Bay 4Morro Bay City Manager Dave Buckingham hired a new deputy city manager without any public advertising of the position, forgoing the usual process of allowing multiple people to apply.

Buckingham said he pursued Sam Taylor, the former assistant city administrator in Ferndale, Wash., after Taylor pulled his name for a similar job in Atascadero. Buckingham was on an interview panel that looked at the top nine of 112 applicants for the Atascadero position.

As city manager, Buckingham has the power to hire without advertising the position.

Nevertheless, in the past the city has advertised for the hiring of department heads in an open and competitive hiring process. Since the hiring, some Morro Bay residents have voiced their concerns with Buckingham’s hiring practices.

By bypassing the open process, Buckingham said he saved the approximately $10,000 cost of the typical recruitment process.

Taylor is paid $113,000 a year plus benefits for the position he filled on June 1.


Lets see,out sourcing the water meter readers,outsourcing all maintance work on city equipment and vehicles,no longer fueling city vehicles in the city yard, that to be done at gas stations in town,moving the city yard out to where they think the new sewer plant is going to go,hiring an assistant manager,that we don’t need,all this is a pattern,Atascadaro works it this way and our city manager is drinking buddys with someone over there, so we’ll be going further down the drain here shortly

fishing village

This is nothing new to those of us who follow what’s going on in the City. It would be real helpful if the employees were able to do their job without political nitpicking! No one wants the old baggage in the City. We need to move forward!


Why does “moving forward” involve just a blanket acceptance of the actions of thecurrent council? Are others not permitted to an opinion now that they are in office?


Every nickle these politicians and beauracrats spend should be subject to citizens scrutiny and debate. I don’t trust any of them. I suspect every deal made, every project and every hire is about lining their own pockets with kickbacks, cronyism or some self serving motive. We the taxpayers have become very lax and thats why government is so shitty at all levels these days.


You’re thinking of the old Morro Bay administration.


This article is correct, as far as it goes, but there are some important issues that don’t seem to be completely covered here.

It seems highly likely that anyone in this area who was seriously interested in a city manager job would have applied in Atascadero, which conducted an “open and competitive hiring process”. Taylor reportedly was the unanimous choice of the interviewers, which means he beat out all the locals who applied for that job.

By leveraging the work and the considerable expenditures of the city of Atascadero to find the best possible city manager candidate, Buckingham was able to save the City a ton of money AND be sure he had the best person for the job.

I suspect that those complaining loudest are people who applied in Atascadero and were not chosen, and those who constantly attack the current administration because they are unhappy about losing the last two elections.

When someone is able to snag the top candidate from a field of 112, and save the City of Morro Bay $10,000 in the process – and STILL gets criticized, the only thing that’s really questionable is the motive of the critics. Looks like more of the usual sour grapes.


As long as the guy doesn’t turn out to be his brother-in-law or fraternity brother it sounds like he got it done at Atascadero’s expense. The complaints seem to be about the reinstatement of a position at around $200k/year including perks and bennies in a town of 10k people that had been previously eliminated.


It’s more about putting the money where it will do the most good. A Rec and Parks director was not needed. Someone to manage the previously-unmanaged iinformation technology function was very badly needed, and that will be just one of the tasks of the new hire.


No surprises here. The Iron’s regime is doing EXACTLY what they accused the former mayor and council of doing.

Morro Bay has become a veritable cornucopia of hypocrisy and cronyism.


Orwellian prophecy: All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.


The Asst. mngr. was hired and Parks & Rec. director fired same week, Guess this is how the city mngr. is paying for the new position. Not sure why we need an asst. mngr. for a town of 10,000. The position was eliminated years ago. Then to top it off we pay the guy more than Atascadero was offering, a town 2-3 times larger than Morro Bay. Maybe the council should consider hiring staff that has Ca. govt. experience let alone Coastal Com. knowledge considering the mess were in with our sewer. That’s OK we’re collecting $40. a person in business license tax now for all the retirees who sell their art work in the co-op’s so that should help pay for the guy.


And let’s not forget that this deal cost an extra $75,000 in severance pay to fire the existing Recreation and Parks Director. That’s not the way we save money in my house. They’ll just raise the charges for Kid’s Club and other Recreation Department services to pay for it. This City Council and City Manager are leaving a trail of destruction everytime they have a City Council meeting. If anybody really cares they should show up at the meetings and let them know.


This is NO big deal.

CCN is making hay again!


Actually, it is called transparency! Interesting, why would this guy, fired from another City (involving lawsuits), applies to Atascadero for a job opening and interview which the Morro Bay manager sits on and then following lunch Mr. Taylor pulls his name from the process and then is hired FOR MORE MONEY THAN ATASCADERO WAS OFFERING and you find nothing wrong with this. People have no morale compass anymore!


Ethics anyone? Not in Morro Bay. Not today, with this current City Council and City Manager. The rules don’t apply. Every other city goes out and advertises, interviews and considers several possible candidates to get the best. Morro Bay’s government thinks they’re smarter than all the rest. And if the new guy doesn’t work out, we’ll just pay him a bunch of money to go away. Living in Morro Bay, at the present time, is like being on the Titantic.


I hope people realize that this Deputy City Manager’s contract was signed in April before there was a budgeted position in the City budget. So this person was hired before any City Council vote on the position and before the budget was approved for this position. I, and every other taxpayer, should care about that.


Honestly, who cares? It’s not like better quality people have come out of closed processes. Either they are good and worth it or not.


Your response sounds like the workings of San Luis Obispo: Christine Dietrick, City Attorney to Katie Licktig, City Manager: Can we find a position for my brother?

Katie responds: No problem, we will put him temporarily in a vacant position, let him learn since he has no experience. Katie: Ok, it has been six months so we need to fill the position, tell him to apply, take the test and we will shoo him in! Christine: Oh no, he didn’t pass the test! Katie: No problem, we will find him another temporary job and let him learn it until he can pass one of the test. TRANSPARENCY, which is a real team builder as the other City employees who worked through the processes and got their jobs. Yep, no big deal!


It’s ok because Monica Irons, Mayor Jamie Irons wife, is the Human Resources Director in SLO. That’s how Christine Johnson’s husband got his job with the City of San Luis Obispo. A little corruption goes a long ways.