Meeting law violated in YC
The Yuba City City Council held an undisclosed meeting Monday to interview candidates for city manager, violating the state's Brown Act, Mayor Eric Hellberg said Thursday.
The meeting was not noticed because of staff turnover - the city recently lost its deputy clerk who handled the noticing duties, the mayor said.
“It was totally unintentional,” Hellberg said.
The lack of notice was a Brown Act violation, Hellberg said.
California's open meetings law, the Brown Act, requires that the public be notified in advance of meetings. Neither newspapers nor local radio stations were informed of the meeting, said Hellberg.
The city's bulletin board Thursday also did not show any postings for the meeting.
City Clerk Steve Johnson said his office works with the City Manager and City Attorney offices in sending out meeting notices.
Johnson referred questions regarding whether the city violated the Brown Act to the City Attorney's Office.
“I'm not an expert on the law,” Johnson said.
City Attorney Tim Hayes could not be reached for comment.
No action was taken by City Council at the meeting. A panel of five community members picked by the council to help with the selection was also at the meeting.
The city appears to be closing in on a new leader to replace long-time City Manager Jeff Foltz, who is retiring after 21 years as the city's top administrator.
While they are giving few details about the candidates, city officials say they have whittled the prospects to a short list.
So far, the city is on schedule to have a city manager start by June, said Johnson.
Hellberg was optimistic about the pool of would-be city managers who are interested in the position.
“In my opinion, any one of the candidates could do the job and do it well,” Hellberg said.
Hellberg was not sure if the new city manager would be taking the job by June, though.
“I'd love to have someone working the 1st of July,” Hellberg said. “That may be pushing the envelope.”
Hellberg said the next step would be background checks on the prospects.
A select group of candidates will be asked to provide references once it is anticipated they may be recommended as finalists, according to a city brochure.
The council is searching for a new city manager with the help of five civic leaders as well as an executive search firm, Bob Murray & Associates, of Roseville.
Neither Hellberg nor Johnson would disclose the number of candidates the city is currently looking at or their names.
Johnson said the City Council is down to a “short list” of candidates, all with city manager experience.
Johnson said the city received 48 applicants for the city manager position which pays from $152,555 to $185,436 per year and offers an “attractive” benefits package, according to the city, including a 2.7 percent at 55 retirement package.
Appeal-Democrat reporter John Dickey can be reached at 749-4711. You may e-mail him at email@example.com.