SB Mayor Davis Hires Campaign Manager As Office Chief Of Staff

(April 22)  The San Bernardino City Council has signed off on Mayor Carey Davis’ hiring the same public relations firm that he used to coordinate his mayoral campaign to serve in the capacity of his chief-of-staff.
MICA-PR, which is led by Michael McKinney, will receive $62.50 per hour to serve in the capacity of mayoral chief of staff. McKinney served as Davis’ campaign manager in his fall campaign and again during the February run-off. Since Davis was sworn in, he has been serving as Davis’ unofficial chief-of-staff.
In addition to running Davis’ campaign, McKinney headed up last year’s successful campaign to recall city attorney James F. Penman and councilwoman Wendy McCammack. Though McCammack was recalled in November, she was simultaneously on the ballot as a candidate for mayor, garnering  3,091 votes or 24.03 percent for first place. Davis, who placed second in that contest with 3,023 votes or 23.5 percent, qualified for the February run-off, in which he prevailed over McCammack.  McKinney has worked on more than 200 political campaigns in various capacities, including serving as campaign chairman and key advisor with regard to strategy.
The hiring of MICA-PR generated controversy, with some questioning the firm’s qualifications for serving in a managerial role, given its nature as a public relations firm.  San Bernardino, as a charter city, infuses the mayor with greater managerial authority than is the case in general law cities, such that the mayor and his chief-of-staff have authority that rivals that of the city manager.
Ironically, Davis has called for charter reform, in particular doing away with a provision that guarantees that the city’s safety employees – police officers and firemen – be paid at a rate comparable to firefighters and police in ten comparatively-sized California cities. There are other potential areas for reform being contemplated, including reducing the authority of the mayor and his chief of staff.
MICA-PR’s  contract is set to run through November, at which point those potential charter reforms will likely have been submitted to the voters.
When Davis earlier floated the proposal to hire MICA-PR to serve as chief-of-staff, the San Bernardino police union railed against it, suggesting Davis was searching for a means to make “a gift of public funds” to pay for his campaign’s outstanding debt to MICA-PR and McKinney. That proposal was temporarily rescinded but was brought back this week.
McKinney previously served on the staff of two congressmen and was also a vice president in charge of governmental affairs with the Lewis Group of Companies.
His contract, which does not specify his duties, has a not-to-exceed limit of $100,000. The contract does not state what MICA-PR’s job criteria as chief of staff are.

Leave a Reply