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Santa Clara’s Inflationary Spending Spree on Incoming Executive Staff

Deanna Santana

The Director of Human Resources for Santa Clara, Liz Brown, attempted to paint a picture of how these are not new positions but existing positions:

In addition to incoming City Manager Deanna Santana, Santa Clara is burning public dollars on other executive staff. Scott McKibben (Stadium Authority Stadium Manager) and Manuel Pineda (Assistant City Manager)

This is true that these are positions that have been created. The Stadium Manager was approved earlier this year. The Assistant City Manager is an existing role that is often coupled with another job title. It is unclear that there was any funding for this position.  Presumably there is funding for the Stadium Manager. But neither position has been publicly notified, advertised or opened up for the public to submit their resumes. This is a “back room” deal.

There are even more key pieces of the puzzle that we can not seem to identify.
Such as:
1) Why are these positions so highly paid?
2) Some of these have names of people attached/in mind
3) Where were the job postings and regional job searches
4) Why can an incoming City Manager dictate who gets hired?
5) The Interim City Manager is on his own hiring spree before he leaves office.

So how legal is all of this and where is Santa Clara coming up with the budget for all of this?
Is the City of Santa Clara complying with the State of California’s polices, regulations and laws? Any of the City of Santa Clara City Councilmembers and the HR Director and the HR Department could also utilize this Fisher & Phillips document on “Labor and Employment Laws in the State of California.”

If this is illegal, what are the consequences and who faces them. Two City Councilmemebers had issues with the pay package. But they did not argue that these positions were being created illegally or that the positions were being filled illegally.

So were they opposed to the money or the fact that they were not in on the “inner loop” of the hiring process.And what exactly was the hiring process? If during negotiations, the future City Manager states she wants to bring people from Sunnyvale and Oakland. This is fine, but they should have to compete against anyone else in the open and transparent legal process that the State of California mandates.

But they bypassed legal processes. What are the consequences? Who falls on the sword? (if there is one)

Update, Sept. 7, 2017:
Santa Clara News has reported that Walter Rossman, currently Sunnyvale’s Assistance City Manager has been announced as the new Chief Operating Officer. This is a position that is new and has also never been publicly notified of a job position so others may apply for the job.