San Leandro City Manager Takes Cut To Offer Lucrative Five-Year Agreement For Two Top City Officials

SAN LEANDRO CITY COUNCIL | The San Leandro City Council adopted a new five-year agreement starting next year increasing compensation and benefit packages for two top level executives in San Leandro, Police Chief Sandra Spagnoli and Assistant City Manager, Lianne Marshall, as incentive for them to stay with the city. San Leandro has had trouble maintaining top level management in recent years and the new agreement is an effort to provide incentives for longer terms.

The package is a relatively lucrative offer passed 5-2 with council members Jim Prola and Pauline Cutter dissenting. The package offers a pay increase that would cap off over $200,000 for both Spagnoli and Marshall by 2017. The compensation package begins January of next year with an immediate pay raise from $177,000 to $187,000. City Manager Chris Zapata sacrifices a total of $10,000 annually from his own salary to each of the city management executives during the first two years.

Zapata sponsored the agreement after elaborating his worries concerning recent staff reductions. Three city managers left their posts since 2009, along with three different police chiefs in the last five years. The proposal would aid in maintaining top level staff that, if otherwise left, would add stress to the City Manager when dealing with vacancies and new hires.

The proposition was met with astounding support from most of the council. Reed emphasized the necessity to maintain talent in the city to ensure stable functionality and consistency. The plan offers sick leave buy back compensation, although it would only be available if either Spagnoli or Marshall were fired without cause. Cutter voted against the agreement on this notion that although it is a relatively small amount of city funds lost if the buyback kicked in it would be a dangerous precedent to set.

Prola on the other hand, who is the most union-supported member of the council, voted against the agreement on ethical and financial grounds. The agreement comes at a time just before union negotiations are to be finalized and much discussion, some by Mayor Steven Cassidy during the State of the City address earlier this year, advocated for employee pension cuts by forcing the union members to pay more into their pensions. What that amount will be is unknown at this point. But Prola was steadfast to reject a proposal that offers top level management pay increases while working class city employees feel the brunt of the financial squeeze.

“In January 2013 they will get a raise of $10,000 that equivalent of 5.65 percent, it will bring the salary to $211,461, that is over $34,000 in a five year period and then you include vacation, health and sick leave benefits, they are getting a really good contract here,” said Prola, “I don’t think we should be giving our executives a boost in salaries while asking our employees to sacrifice. We are creating a couple of contracts over $200,000 here that will boost their pensions. I say the pensions of the employees are the not the ones that the masses complain about but it’s the huge pension increases for executives…I don’t think any employee should be treated differently than most of our employees.”

Cassidy, who showed less regard for potential employee pension cuts in the wake of top executive pay raises, spoke to a different axiom, “While the work of all individuals should be valued, I don’t believe in the philosophy that the compensation of all individuals should be treated the same, there are logical distinctions that can and should be made between those who are on the front line and those who are on the very top of management,” said Cassidy. The mayor threw his reasoning behind common business and economic rhetoric, “There is a pay increase in the beginning, but this is to reflect the realities of the market place.”

The agreement though is not a mandate. It does not require the police chief and the assistant city manager to stay for the full five years. In fact, both could quit at any point if dissatisfied or offered a more lucrative deal in another city. It is nothing but a mere financial incentive. Furthermore, if Zapata does not finish out the remainder of his contract, set to expire in 2014, then the pay increase would have to come out of the general fund. Even if Zapata finish in 2014 and does not renew his contract, the remaining three years of pay increase would likely be compensated by the general fund.

Categories: Chris Zapata, city manager, san leandro, San Leandro Police Chief, Sandra Spagnoli

16 replies

  1. Only trouble is folks that left the city took lesser or lateral jobs. They left because they didn't want to work under the autistic mayor not because of money.


  2. Cassidy, news flash if you can't pay to keep city workers, then common sense should tell you YOU CAN”T AFFORD TO GIVE San Leandro Hospital 3M $$$$ DUH!


  3. How long does Cassidy really think the current city manager will stay? If he's good at doing his job, then he”ll soon be a goner!

    No one could work with Cassidy when he was on the school board. He liked to micro manage everything.
    It always had to be his way or the highway. He was a fool and nothing has changed. Cassidy is running the city down. He's such an arrogant ass!!!


  4. Recall Time
    we need to get these people out that spend money like there is no tomorrow.


  5. What a joke. Never mind the employees that have already sacrificed and have not seen a pay increase in over 5 years. “frontline” employees are the ones that get it done. Any “leader” will tell you that. F you Cassidy


  6. Absolutely. This is an outrage. The first year beat officer just hired should receive the same benefits as the 20 year veteran. Police chiefs are a dime a dozen. They don't do anything. The city could hire a new chief at half the pay and without any benefits. How could someone who is autistic have fooled the rest of the city council? A leader doesn't get others to vote the way he wants. Santos stood up to the police chief and city manager and fired them when they wanted new contracts. Cassidy can't get along with anyone. Bring back Santos! Recall Cassidy, Reed, Souza and the rest of them!


  7. thanks for wanting to bring me back-I concur with all comments. this is not a good time to do what is being done here. City is in negotiations with employees and are suggesting they give up 8% of their pay to pay for their future retirement plan-this is a hardship to many and now the chief and assistent city manager are receiving substantial increases-not fair-all must sacrifice-i feel for the city manager-he has a real problem in his office-he has lost a great many of his important employees and maybe as a result of what has now just been done, more will follow-there is a morale problem at city hall-just today, i ran into two city employees; one came up to me and thanked me for what he says i did for them-everyone needs to put pressure on this council to get better results-tony santos


  8. 3:27pm LOSERS!!!


  9. 3:27, at least your mother loves you.


  10. 8:23
    let 3:27 mommy read post and judge for herself. would 3:27 mommy use such words.


  11. 3:27 you have anger issues, need checking in with specialists to calm you down.


  12. @3:27 Thank God, you and your people/candidates lost! What you wrote totally evil!


  13. 327 can you please tell me who you are or where I can meet you so I can beat your ass?? Stop harassing an old man who gave alot to his community


  14. Can this site track ip addresses if so 3:27's should be reported to the police, guy is sick and may hurt himself or someone else


  15. 3:27's a sore loser, just like the rest of Cassidy's clowns.
    Cassidy talks about city employees taking pay cuts, but should lead by example. Remember that new house he bought in Bay O? As mayor he should give up his pay and all benefits.
    Cassidy is a joke. He'll be running for governor next. He's always been a self serving pompous ass, just like his cousin thru marriage Galvan. Cassidy should move to Castro Valley too!
    Thank you Tony Santos for your leadership. I am so glad you didn't have Cassidy syndrome.


  16. None of this comes as a suprise. Whenever so called money saving cuts are made it's always from the bottom and never from the top.

    Cassidy is a fool and got into something way over his head. He's clueless and it shows! Thank goodness we still have a city manager. If things don't improve, he might be the next one to walk.


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