The San Juan Bautista City Council approved the salary for an assistant city manager during its Feb. 25 special meeting, in response to City Manager Michaele LaForge’s upcoming departure. LaForge submitted a letter of resignation on Feb. 22 and her last day is expected to be March 7.
The temporary assistant manager position aims to offer a smooth transition for an incoming interim city manager as the city searches for a replacement for LaForge. According to the meeting agenda packet, the position has an hourly rate of $50 for no longer than two weeks. LaForge said the position would cost about $2,000 per week.
Some residents considered the news of LaForge’s resignation a rumor, as neither the city nor LaForge had made an official statement.
Resident Cara Vonk asked the City Council who was a candidate for the assistant manager position, but received no answers. She also asked why LaForge chose to leave if she was doing a great job for the city.
In response, Mayor Cesar Flores read LaForge’s two-week notice to the audience. LaForge did not address the public regarding her resignation.
During the Feb. 25 meeting, Flores said LaForge included a proposed transitional plan for her resignation that included interviewing former Ed Tewes, a former city manager of Gilroy, for the interim position. Tewes, who previously served as interim city manager after the abrupt resignation of Roger Grimsley in August 2017, helped the San Juan Bautista City Council select LaForge as his replacement.
LaForge was not the only one who proposed Tewes for the position. Vonk also suggested the council contact Tewes, before she learned that he was in the audience.
The departing city manager received a performance evaluation in closed session. City Attorney Deborah Mall said there was no reportable action taken.
Here is LaForge’s resignation letter:
I have enjoyed my job as city manager of San Juan Bautista, but after deep thought and many discussions with my family, I have accepted an assignment elsewhere. This letter constitutes my official two-week notice of termination of employment with the city of San Juan Bautista. I must report to my new assignment by March 18, 2019.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the opportunity to serve the city and the council. Special appreciation for councilmembers Freeman and De Vries as well as former councilmembers Boch, West and Martorana for making me your choice out of several very capable and experienced candidates. I would like to thank the residents and business owners who opened their hearts and expressed their needs and concerns directly to me. These earnest and constructive inputs were important to establishing our 10-year capital plan and achieving so much in the past 15 months.
In conclusion, I truly appreciate the opportunity granted to me to serve the good residents of SJB. It challenged me, it helped me grow both professionally and personally, and it improved my own and my family’s quality of life. I have made many new friends and acquaintances, which I am grateful for. I encourage us all to continue to be passionate, to give back for the greater good, have the courage to interact in person and assume positive intent to one another. I truly believe that we all want the same thing—a healthy, happy, safe, beautiful community. Our hearts are in the right place. Be efficient and save precious time by doing your research, asking questions, get the facts in order before forming opinions. Be good and kind in collaborations.
To city staff, I love you dearly, and thank you immensely for your efforts, for your attention to detail, for constantly improving your skills, and for never complaining. You are an amazing team with so much more untapped potential. Keep up your professionalism, your smiles, and chins. I have managed many teams and you are at the top of the list. You do so much with so little and wear so many hats—truly amazing.
Council members again, thank you. You are welcome to reach out if you need my help in any way. I will be happy to help.
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