Claremont city manager getting a $21,000 bonus (January 11, 2017)

CLAREMONT >> The city manager here is getting a $22,270 bonus.

The council is so pleased with City Manager Tony Ramos’ work, following a recent review, they are giving him a one-time $21,952 bonus. The total comes to $22,270, which includes a 1.45 percent Medicare cost.

That’s 10 percent of his annual salary.

Although the council unanimously voted Tuesday night in favor of the bonus, one member of the public took issue.

Resident Jim Belna urged the council to reconsider, adding it was not meant as criticism of Ramos.

He’s an extremely hard worker and has had to deal with extraordinary challenges this year, Belna told the council.

Instead, Belma said he was directing his comments — which he deemed as advice — to the council.

In the real world, when an organization loses millions of dollars, the people who are responsible for it usually get fired. Even they worked hard and tried their best, he said. If they somehow managed to keep their jobs it would be unthinkable to reward them with a bonus.

He was referring to a Los Angeles Superior Court judge’s final decision issued in December siding with Golden State Water. Claremont has yet to decide if it will concede or file an appeal. If the decision stands, Claremont could end up spending $14 million on the case, which includes Golden State Water’s legal fees.

Councilman Corey Calaycay acknowledged that the staff report failed to detail the evaluation and why the council felt Ramos deserved the bonus. The decision, he said, wasn’t just based on his performance on the Golden State Water case.

The staff report stated: The City Council unanimously agreed that Mr. Ramos is doing an excellent job as city manager in managing projects, maintaining a strong financial situation, and serving as a leader both within the City organization and in the community.

In the past, previous city managers received a cost of living increase in lieu of a bonus. The difference, a bonus is a one-time reward while a cost of living has a long-term impact to the budget and the city’s ongoing contribution to that employee’s pension.

To put it into perspective, Calaycay said that Ramos’ total compensation is still less than the previous city manager.

Calaycay also pointed out that Belna has long opposed the city’s stance on the water issue.

Council members Larry Schroeder, Joe Lyons and Calaycay said the decision to proceed with eminent domain of the water system was a community decision.

Do not put the blame on the judge’s decision at the feet of the city’s manager who does a stellar job, Lyons said.

Source: Liset Márquez, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

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