San Leandro City Manager Chris Zapata
took a pay cut in 2012.

SAN LEANDRO CITY COUNCIL | City leaders want an extra six months to come to terms with its current city manager.

Chris Zapata’s three-year contract expires at the end of January. A city staff reports recommends a six-month extension of the current agreement through July 30.

All indications suggest the San Leandro Council plan on retaining Zapata, who was hired in January 2012 after stints in National City, Calif. and Glendale, Ariz.

If approved by the council Tuesday night (City Hall is closed Monday for MLK holiday), the city can continue to negotiate with Zapata for a long-term extension.

By most accounts, Zapata’s tenure is seen as positive, especially during a time when most municipalities were struggling to emerge from a long recession. In addition, Zapata’s early tenure was highlighted by a period of high turnover at City Hall following Stephen Cassidy’s election as mayor four years ago.

In the meantime, San Leandro’s budget has stabilized and it is seen as a burgeoning area for industrial tech companies.

Zapata’s past generosity, though, may be a sticking point in negotiations. Although, his original contract called for Zapata to earn an annual salary of $223,000—at the time, a very competitive salary among East Bay city managers—he later sought council approval to lower his pay by $20,000.

Zapata then earmarked the savings to retain San Leandro Police Chief Sandra Spagnoli and Assistant City Manager Lianne Marshall after some worry nearby cities would poach one or both from San Leandro. Both remain with the city.