Arroyo Grande to rehire interim city manager at lower cost
August 23, 2016
Arroyo Grande is again planning on rehiring Robert McFall to serve as interim city manager, and by chance, the city is expected to save some money. Earlier this month, the council approved an employment agreement with McFall, but complications stemming from McFall’s status as a CAlPERS retiree derailed the deal.
A new agreement between McFall and Arroyo Grande would cut out the middleman and save the city an estimated total of up to $51,000. Under the new agreement, McFall would lose a $1,700 monthly housing allowance, but would ensure that he keeps receiving his pension payments from CalPERS, the state retirement system.
McFall previously served as Arroyo Grande’s interim city manager from Jan. 2015 to Aug. 2015. City officials say he did a good job in the position.
On Aug. 9, the Arroyo Grande City Council voted unanimously to approve a contract with Regional Government Services (RGS), a governmental joint powers authority that assists other public agencies with short-term staffing needs. The agreement called for McFall to work for RGS as an independent contractor.
The initial agreement called for the city to pay RGS an hourly rate of $125, as well as the $1,700 monthly housing allowance. California Government Code allows CalPERS retirees to receive benefits, in addition to salary and pension payments, if they work during retirement as independent contractors. However, if CalPERS classifies the retiree as a retired annuitant, rather than an independent contractor, he is not allowed to receive benefits and must work for a limited duration.
As a result, McFall chose not to enter into the agreement, even though the city council had already approved the contract.
On Tuesday, the council will vote on the new contract, which calls for the city to pay McFall an $86.06 hourly rate. State regulations allow McFall to work a maximum of 960 hours under the agreement.
If McFall works 960 hours over eight months, the city anticipates paying him a total of approximately $82,618. The previous agreement was estimated to cost a total of approximately $133,600 over the same amount of time.
In 2010, McFall retired from the city of Glendale after spending 23 years as assistant city manager. Post-retirement, McFall did some consulting work for Arroyo Grande in which he conducted several departmental assessments.
The Arroyo Grande council hired McFall as interim city manager in 2015 after city manager Steve Adams resigned amid a sex scandal. The scandal stemmed from Arroyo Grande police finding Adams with a partially clothed community development director late at night in a city hall office.
An alleged coverup of the incident also led to the departure of longtime Mayor Tony Ferrara, who lost his reelection bid to a write-in campaign run by now Mayor Jim Hill.
The city has since been divided along the lines of those who support the police officers and Hill and those who back Ferrara and Councilwoman Kristen Barneich. Former Councilwoman Caren Ray, who is currently a council candidate, as well as others, are battling to bring back the old guard.
In Aug. 2015, the council hired Dianne Thompson as city manager. Amid complaints for the public and staff, the council voted unanimously in June to fire Thompson.
Since Thompson’s departure, Public Works Director Geoff English has served as interim city manager.
Arroyo Grande officials had initially planed for McFall to begin his second stint with the city on Aug. 10. City officials now plan for McFall to begin work on Wednesday.