Colton Hires Smith As City Manager On Three-Year Contract

Colton has elevated Bill Smith, that city’s community services  director for the last eleven years, to city manager.
Smith was narrowly approved as the lead staff member in the blue collar town of 52,154, with council members Deirdre Bennett, Frank Navarro, David Toro and Luis Gonzalez in favor of his promotion and   councilwoman Summer Zamora Jorrin, Mayor Richard DeLaRosa and Councilman Isaac Suchil dissenting
He replaces interim city manager Josefina Kenline, who has held the position since December, when she was given the temporary assignment, having succeeded a series of fill-in city managers consisting of the city’s department heads who were drafted to the fill-in roll after former city manager Stephen Compton was forced out.
Smith was given the position after agreeing to a contract that specifies him as an “at-will” employee who can be fired with or without cause on a vote of at least five of the council’s seven members. If fired without cause, he is to receive a severance buyout equal to twelve full months of his $186,000 annual salary.
In addition to his salary, he is to receive the same medical and retirement benefits provided to members of the city’s administrative staff.
Several just causes for his removal as city manager are specified, including conviction of a crime, failing to follow a directive of the city council, abuse of non-prescription drugs or alcohol materially affecting his performance, repeated and protracted absences, and gross misconduct that adversely impacts the reputation of the community or impacts city operations.
In assuming the city manager’s position, Smith inherits an unresolved issue pertaining to inadequate oversight of revenue coming into the city.
Among these are the city’s developer impact fees.
Prior to his leaving the city, Compton sought to get a fix on whether developer impact fees were in fact being collected in compliance with the city’s ordinance and AB 1600, which defines developer impact fees as “a monetary exaction other than a tax or special assessment that is charged by a local governmental agency to an applicant in connection with approval of a development project for the purpose of defraying all or a portion of the cost of public facilities related to the development project.”
What is unclear is whether Colton has been collecting those fees and whether they have been properly placed into sequestered accounts to prevent the money from being used for any purposes not consisted with AB 1600 and Government Code § 66000.
If the city has not been abiding by the laws relating to the collection and use of developer impact fees, a developer who has paid them could file a claim against the city for the return of the fees paid.
Compton ordered an audit of the fees, but that audit was not completed at the time he left and there has been no indication that further progress toward completing the audit has been made.
The city council has not approved the  general fund audit for fiscal year 2013-14 ending on last June 30, which might have demonstrated whether development impact fees were being collected and how they have been deposited and disbursed. The city’s mitigation fee report as of June 30, 2014 defines what developer impact fees are and states only in the most generic of terms that the city is bound by  Government Code § 66000 and AB 1600 in collecting and utilizing them.
Based upon a review of the report by Fullerton-based Revenue & Cost Specialists, LLC, which was retained by the city last year to look into the matter, the city has not been managing the developer impact fees in accordance with California statutory requirements.
Nor is it clear whether the city has been collecting the fees in all cases where they could be collected and into which accounts those funds were deposited.

Leave a Reply