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City manager gets generous 10 percent yearly bonus

The council also approved a bonus for City Manager Tony Ramos, but not without protestations.

The bonus comes on the heels of a positive evaluation for Mr. Ramos. It will be a 10 percent bonus, or $21,952.10, a one-time merit award that is not reportable as compensation under the city’s retirement agreement with PERS, according to city documents.

The bonus was initially a consent calendar item, but was brought forth for discussion after resident Jim Belna raised concerns, bringing up Judge Richard Fruin’s recent decision against the city in the eminent domain trial.

“In the real world, when an organization loses millions of dollars, the people who are responsible would be fired, even if they worked hard and tried their best,” Mr. Belna said. “If they somehow managed to keep their job, it would be unthinkable to award them with a bonus.”

Mr. Belna also claimed the 10 percent bonus was among the highest ever awarded by the city, noting that past city managers received less and Mr. Ramos himself has typically received five to eight percent throughout his tenure as city manager.

At the end of 2015, Mr. Ramos received a one-time bonus of $28,646, which included a $17,467 merit award equal to eight percent of his annual salary, plus a cash-out of 100 hours of leave pay, or $11,179, according to city records. His total pay and benefits for 2015 was $334,223, up from $331,356 in 2014.

Councilmember Corey Calaycay, who pulled the item for discussion, asserted that Mr. Belna’s discussion of past city manager bonuses was not entirely accurate, noting that previous city managers received cost of living increases in lieu of a one-time bonus. He also called out Mr. Belna’s ongoing opposition to the city’s attempt to take over the water system, saying that the 72 percent approval of Measure W in 2014 essentially mandated the city to push forward with the trial.

“To put any responsibility on [Mr. Ramos] of what was asked of him by this council and the public is not a fair thing to do,” he said.

The council unanimously approved Mr. Ramos’ bonus.

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