Councilman rips contracts for city attorney and city manager |

Councilman rips contracts for city attorney and city manager

Adam Jensen

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Employment agreements the city of South Lake Tahoe reached with City Attorney Patrick Enright and new City Manager Tony O’Rourke are “bad contracts,” Councilman Bill Crawford said Tuesday.

The councilman was the lone opposition to approval of contracts for both men.

Enright’s new contract increases his pay by 5 percent, increases his severance provision from 90 to 180 days and extends his contract by one year to May 31, 2012.

O’Rourke’s three-year contract includes a $175,000 annual salary, 80 hours of annual administrative leave, a $500 per month car allowance, a $12,000 moving expense allowance and nine months severance pay.

The contracts were on the consent portion of the meeting agenda and were not scheduled for discussion until Crawford pulled the items.

“I pulled this because it’s a bad contract,” Crawford said in reference to the city’s agreement with Enright.

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Crawford said he doesn’t believe in severance pay and had “big questions” regarding Enright’s performance as city attorney. He did not elaborate on what those questions were at Tuesday’s meeting.

The councilman – who did not participate in interviews of city manager candidates – questioned why O’Rourke’s salary was already in the ballpark of eighth year City Manager David Jinkens, asked why the city manager needed a car allowance and said he was unsure of what administrative leave entailed.

O’Rourke’s contract does not define administrative leave, but the term typically refers to a situation where an employee is given paid time off due to an allegation of misconduct.

Nine months of severance pay will lead to a situation where the City Council won’t dismiss O’Rourke – even if it’s necessary – because of the expense involved, Crawford said.

The meeting grew tense after Lovell called Crawford out of order when he began to talk while Enright was explaining changes to O’Rourke’s contract.

“I’m just living up to my reputation,” Crawford quipped. “Thank you very much.”

Councilman Hal Cole and Lovell defended Enright’s performance on Tuesday. Cole said he appreciated Enright’s work. Lovell echoed the sentiment.

“I think we all feel that way, and I want to thank (Enright) for that,” Lovell said.

Following the meeting, Lovell said O’Rourke received across-the-board support from city hiring panels and said provisions in his contract are similar to managers of similar-sized cities throughout California.

She noted O’Rourke will be furloughed in-line with other city employees and did not receive a housing allowance as part of his contract.