Santa Paula Council: Last Meeting of 2018 Spends Over $552,691

By Sheryl Hamlin

The December 19, 2018 meeting of the Santa Paula council brought the retirements of three important city employees whose service to the city totaled 80 years.

Lorenzo Chavez, Building Inspector, Ed Mount, Park and Recreation Director (new name of department) and Sandra Easley, finance director and city treasurer, spent 13, 31 and 36 years respectively with the city. Council Member Araiza who supervised Lorenzo Chavez said he was a positive force in the department. City Manager Rock noted that Ed Mount started when the recreation department was in its infancy, while Sandra Easley managed to survive multiple software upgrades and successful audits.

Spending Approvals

The city approved the following expenditures totaling $552, 691.

Water Wise Program: $23,000

John Deere Backhoe Loader : $114,673

Traffic Safety Improvement for Santa Paula High School: $415,078

Other Spending Not Enumerated

With the retirement of Ed Mount, City Manager Rock decided to hire an Executive Recruiter saying this is a very specialized position. He also asked for 5% more in salary, plus an additional 9% after six month. This was approved. According to Transparent California, the current salary of this position is $101,000 plus benefits. The cost of the executive recruiter was not enumerated in the report.

In the closed session agenda, the negotiation for properties at Lemonwood Park for the relocation of the Police and Community Development Department has been mentioned for several months. There has been no report indicating if this negotiation is for a lease or a purchase, nor where the city expects to obtain funding for a purchase, nor an indication as to what the plans are for the current properties where these two departments are housed.

Mayor’s Ad Hoc Committee Appointments

While not as contentious as last year’s committee assignment, this year was not lacking in horse trading and maneuvering. Evidently some committees are more prestigious than others, particularly the VCSD (Ventura County Sanitation District) and the VCTC (Ventuira County Transportation Commission), both of which Council Member Crosswhite had requested , but both went to Vice Mayor Araiza with Council Member Crosswhite as alternate.

It is important for voters to understand that these committees represent an additional commitment from each member. During the course of the year the council member will report on his or her committee’s actions, particularly if there are ramifications for the City of Santa Paula. Click here for the full list of assignments: 12-19-18 Ratified Mayor’s StandingCommittees for 2019

Veolia Pulled From Agenda

Recall that American Water, the operator for the sewer plant, is exiting this business, so has recommended Veolia to take over the contract. The contract as listed on the agenda was pulled because the consultant did not agree according to City Manager Rock. There was no discussion about dates and alternatives.

To watch the video and download the reports, click here.

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