Another SLO City clerk departing

September 22, 2015

SLO City Manager Katie LichtigBy JOSH FRIEDMAN

As with finance directors, city clerks have been prone to departing San Luis Obispo after brief stints with the city under the leadership of City Manager Katie Lichtig.

Shortly following the resignation of finance director Wayne Padilla, San Luis Obispo City Clerk Anthony Mejia has announced he is resigning. Mejia’s last day on the job in San Luis Obispo will be Oct. 9.

When Padilla took over the position of finance director in Jan. 2013, he became the city’s fourth finance director in a period of less than three years. When Mejia took over as city clerk, he became the city’s third full-time city clerk in a period of less than two years.

Both Padilla and Mejia have cited personal reasons as an explanation for their resignation announcements.

Critics have faulted Lichtig, who took over as city manager in 2010, for high turnover among San Luis Obispo employees.

Since 2001, the city’s overall turnover rate has averaged about 8.5 percent, according a city staff report released earlier this year.

In 2012, the turnover rate was 10 percent. The turnover rate then rose to 19 percent in 2013 and 32 percent in 2014, according to the staff report.

The staff report, which was arguing for pay increases for city workers, stated most employees were leaving San Luis Obispo for higher paying jobs or for locations with lower costs of living.

But, the past two full-time city clerks had little to gain financially from their departures from San Luis Obispo.

In February 2012, former city clerk Elaina Cano left for the same position in Pismo Beach. Her move came with a slight raise in base salary.

Cano’s successor Maeve Grimes lasted less than a year. In July 2013, Grimes left for the same position in Oregon from which she departed to come to San Luis Obispo.

Grimes took a pay cut of nearly $6,000 to return to her former position as the clerk of Clatsop County in Oregon.

When Cano left San Luis Obispo, she was receiving a base salary of $74,906. Grimes was making a base salary of $82,914 in San Luis Obispo.

When the city hired Mejia, it granted him a significantly higher salary than his predecessors. The city hired Mejia at a base salary of $98,000.

Currently, city employees are in the process of receiving raises. Several employees have already been granted raises of more than 10 percent.

In Nov. 2013, CalCoastNews reported that San Luis Obispo had the highest rate of attrition among management staff in the county.

At that time, eight department heads had left since Lightig took over as city manager. In the previous four years, one department head had left the city.

Critics of Lichtig have also said the position of city clerk comes with increased scrutiny. Councilman Dan Carpenter and others have pointed out multiple times the city clerk’s office was withholding information from the city website that could reflect poorly upon the city.

Last year, the council approved a staff request to spend $250,000 on reorganizing and remodeling city hall. Part of the reconfiguration plan was to move Lichtig to an office adjacent to the city clerk’s office.

Lichtig told CalCoastNews the changes would improve customer service and enhance city operations by locating supervisors next to the programs they lead.


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demiseofslo

If someone could stop that bull dike from wasting all our tax dollars and running our city into the ground, that would be great!


achillesheal

I wouldn’t read too much into the turnover. If lighting was doing anything out of sorts, they would sue her and make the taxpayer pay the damages.


Mid kevel government Management positions are the worst government jobs because the people who work under you dont have to do anything you say, because the union protects them and their job 100% . the rank and file also consider you an outsider and treat you like crap.


Maybe the job just sucks.


shelworth

Maybe it’s like life; if all your relationships fail, hey, it might be you not them.


SamLouis

How much is this costing SLO City taxpayers? It’s time to set-up, SLO City Council Members…


flytrap

The lack of pay reason is highly questionable and a smoke screen. If the pay were so bad, why would these people agree to be hired at the agreed upon salary, then quit shortly afterward? Surely, they knew what their salary was at the time they started working for the city.


The problem is the working conditions that they encounter once they start working for the city. If the city wants to operate the most efficiently and effectively in the future, they must first change the present working conditions which causes everyone to quit, which are decided by their boss at the top-Lichtig’s office. Lichtig’s present solution is to raise the salaries of everyone so high, including herself, that anyone would be crazy not to put up with bad working conditions and stay for the pay.


ToHellinaHandBasket

Katie Lichtig looks butch. “used to describe individual gender identities in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and cross-dressing subcultures to ascribe or acknowledge a masculine (butch) or feminine (femme) identity with its associated traits, behaviors, styles, self-perception and so on”.


She/He most likely wields the BIG hammer.


This is not the SLO I grew up in. Nor the Nation. The left has spread as an aggressive cancer that continues to destroy not only our city, county, but our entire country as well.


hijinks2

What a lie. People are leaving because of pay. People have left because of the theft, abuse of power, lies and deceit that go on at the City daily.


slocalgal

Does anyone know the current total employee turnover under Katie Lichtig?


The Chief Building Official, Joseph Lease, left unexpectedly in December 2014. The Community Development Director, Derek Johnson swapped jobs with Assistant City Manager, Michael Codron last week.


What is going on???


hijinks

This is sad. Anthony’s one of the best people at the city.


Lichtig must go.