29 Palms Brings Takata In As Temporary City Manager

(June 17)  TWENTYNINE PALMS—Twenynine Palms has lured Andy Takata. the former Yucca Valley town manager and Banning city manager who is currently serving as the interim city manager in Calexico, to temporarily replace recently fired city manager Joe Guzzetta.
Takata will officially begin as Twentynine Palms interim city manager on June 24, and be paid $100 per hour for his services.
He was offered the position on a unanimous city council vote, four weeks after Joe Guzzetta was terminated on May 13 by a unanimous vote of the council, slightly less than a year after he assumed the city manager position. Guzzetta, the former director of the Joshua Basin Water District,  was provided with a one-year severance package by the city, such that he was essentially paid two years’ salary for one year of work.
Guzzetta replaced Richard Warne, who was likewise terminated by the city council in April 2013 just one month shy of his two-year anniversary with the city. He too was given one year’s worth of pay to depart, so he was in effect paid with three years’ salary for two years of work.
Takata is to relieve finance officer Ron Peck, who has been serving as acting city manager since Guzzetta was fired.
No commitment to Takata was made beyond having him in place as temporary city manager who will work at least 20 hours per week was made, and it is not known whether he will be in the running to compete among those candidates being considered for the full-time city manager’s post. That selection process could take up to six months.
Takata was with Yucca Valley from 2004 to 2010, and Banning from 2010 until February. He has been in Calexico since last month. Two weeks ago, the Calexico City Council voted to extend Takata’s contract as interim city manager there, staking him to a six month contract running until November 30. Reached at Calexico City Hall on June 16, however, Takata told the  Sentinel, “I never signed the contract. I am just on a short term assignment here and I leave Thursday [June 19].”
Takata said he is situated to be able to fill the Twentynine Palms position relatively easily. “I live in Banning and I have a house in Yucca Valley,” he said.
Takata said he will “work forty hours a week until I get up to speed and then probably 20 hours a week after that.”

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