Experienced Bay Area Leader Signals Change in Direction
DESERT HOT SPRINGS, CA – Bob Adams starts work September 3 as Desert Hot Springs’ interim city manager following a unanimous decision by the City Council at a special meeting last night.
The former Vallejo interim city manager will hold the position until a permanent city manager is hired. Bob Adams worked for the Bay Area city from 2008 to 2010 where he helped the community of 117,000 exit bankruptcy. Vallejo is on the northeast of San Francisco end of San Francisco Bay. He was also city manager for two other Bay Area communities, Manteca and Lafayette, before working in Vallejo where he retired.
As a retiree in the state’s retirement system, Calpers, Bob Adams is only permitted to work a maximum of 960 hours per fiscal year. In 2011 Adams also worked as interim human resources director in Madera, south west of the Bay Area, in the Central Valley.
Several of the six candidates applying for the position were experienced city managers and Calpers retirees. Work in interim management positions is typical for Calpers retirees who are understandably reluctant to take a permanent position at a lower pay than the pay they received upon retirement as that would put them into a lower category disqualifying them from a higher retirement rate of pay. City Attorney Steve Quintanilla contacted him Wednesday to negotiate a contract.
After the city discussed the candidates previously at two closed session meetings, the third meeting ended about thirty minutes with a unified council expressing lighthearted conviviality among themselves. The usual rancor of Mayor Yvonne Parks was ameliorated by a motion made by Councilman Russell Betts to wish her a happy 80th birthday. The entire council appeared in good spirits with their welcoming Bob Adams to the top city job.
City Attorney Steve Quintanilla negotiated the particulars of the interim city manager contract. Quintanilla announced that Bob Adams will be paid $93.75 per hour along with mileage reimbursement but with no benefits. This amounts to a considerable savings over what the city paid to Rick Daniels, who resigned to take the job of city manager in Needles, California. Daniels was rewarded with a pay raise for his new job out in the Mohave Desert.
The city will continue conducting it’s search for a permanent city manager. That decision is expected to be left to the winners of the November election for the position as mayor and two positions on the council. The combative logjam the city suffered for the last two years of a contentious 3-2 voting pattern is likely to be addressed as replacement of just one out of three positions will completely alter the power of the council.
The interim city manager is undertaking a city self-admittedly suffering a fiscal crisis and bereft of leadership . As three council members end their four-year term in November the city’s voters will answer the question of whether any of those three will continue to wield power or if new leadership enters the picture.
Bob Adams comes to town to deal with a dysfunctional city council whose trio of power made decisions placing the city in this financial crisis and who formerly enjoyed the rock solid support of Rick Daniels – who is now packing his bags to leave town.
Hiring Bob Adams signals one more step for change in Desert Hot Springs. Bob is also arriving on the job with a relatively new city attorney plus the city is seeking a new Finance Director. By all accounts the city is showing a wholesale power shift in all levels of city management in anticipation of the November election.
For over 40 years Dean has been published in a variety of small newspapers and magazines. As publisher he founded an alternative city weekly newspaper in 2008 and published over 200 uninterrupted issues over 4 years to over 20,000 readers via 800 locations (and online) before selling the business. Now online with over 3 million readers worldwide.
Dean is a Master Carpenter and the author of the biography of Hilda M Gray, desert homesteader. He served as Planning Commissioner for the city of Desert Hot Springs from January 2014 to January 2015 when he resigned.
Dean M Gray is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors and lives in Palm Desert, California.