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Deis quits as Stockton city manager

Bob Deis

Bob Deis, who resigned as Sonoma County’s top administrator in 2009 because he could not work with a fractured Board of Supervisors, has quit another job.

Deis announced Wednesday that he will resign as city manager in Stockton in March, two years before his five-year contract ends.

His 20-month tenure has been rocky, marked by painful cuts imposed on city employees, fights with city unions and a near-complete turnover of city department heads, according to a report published Wednesday in The Stockton Record.

Deis said the reasons for his departure are personal, but he did say his work had been affecting his home life, and that his family’s privacy had been threatened.

“I think any time when the work comes home and impacts people that live in a home, it’s difficult,” he said. “I just decided in talking with my wife and talking with people in the community that it was time.”

Eight days earlier, a divided Stockton City Council rejected Deis’ proposal to raise the salary of Police Chief Blair Ulring to offset other cuts and protect his retirement.

Ulring also resigned Wednesday.

Stockton Mayor Ann Johnston told The Record she was disappointed that Deis would not be staying longer.

Johnston said she believed the severity of Stockton’s troubles had taken their toll on Deis.

“It becomes overwhelming,” she said. “It’s more than one man, even five, can handle.”

Johnston said Deis had also been targeted for harassment at home, citing the purchase by the Stockton Police Officers Association of the house next door to Deis.

“He’s had a really difficult time in a difficult time,” she said.

Deis said Stockton’s financial problems are worse than anyone could have anticipated, but that’s not why he’s leaving.

“Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to take on a lot of challenges,” he said. “It has never slowed me down.”

Deis believed the Stockton Police Officer’s Association was trying to intimidate him by purchasing the home next door and starting a noisy remodeling project, Stockton Record columnist Michael Fitzgerald reported. The city has taken the SPOA to court to force them to sell the house.

The union’s tactic jangled his wife and made Deis second-guess coming to Stockton, Fitzgerald wrote. Deis told him:

“The hardest is when my wife asks me, ‘Why are you doing this? What are you getting out of it?’”

He added, “As the wife goes, so goes my happiness, up or down.”

The Aug. 9 vote to reject Ulring’s contract was the first time the council had turned down one of Deis’ recommendations. But Deis said the council’s decision was not the reason for his resignation, The Record reported.

“It’s not the reason why I’m retiring,” he said. “I think it would be inaccurate and unfair to point to a specific item and say that’s the reason why I’m retiring.”

Asked whether it was a reason, Deis said, “I’m not going to second-guess individual decisions made by councilmembers.”

Deis will remain through mid-March while the city finds a replacement. He told The Record he has not decided yet whether he will continue to work in government service.

– Ted Appel
Watch Sonoma County

Click here to read the full story in The Stockton Record.

36 Responses to “Deis quits as Stockton city manager”

  1. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    Ricardo Sorentino-you’re mistaken. I am a public employees. I do have a pension that I PAY INTO but so does my employer. I am saying that not all public employees will have huge pensions to fall back on when they retire. We don’t make the big bucks that management makes with employer paid deferred comp to add to that retirement. We also suffer the layoffs, cuts in income, mandatory days off. Management is not being laid off. We’re the ones you see when you come into an office for help. No matter what you’ve been told by the local government services, the layoffs of frontline employees ARE affecting the services you get BIG TIME.
    People need to understand that not all government employees are high paid.

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  2. Ricardo Sorentino says:

    RE: Mockingbird -

    (DK) – “The private sector can’t retire at 55 with a retirement that someone else paid for.”

    (Mockingbird) – “neither can I retire at 55 years-I wish.”

    It seems to me that the main emphasis of that statement is ‘with a retirement that someone else paid for’ and not so much on actually retiring at 55.

    The way I see it, there’s a big difference in funding your own 401k retirement, for example, with employer contributions and hopefully a strong stock market. If things don’t go right, you’re not guaranteed a set amount, too bad for you. With government, rather then coming up short on funding and too bad for the retiree, it’s too bad for the taxpayers, so we pick up the underfunding.

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  3. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    At DK-neither can I retire at 55 years-I wish. Not all employees can retire at that age unless they have a separate source of income. People are being deluded that we can all retire early. Some of us have to work until we’re 66 or 67 years because we can’t afford to live ON OUR PENSIONS.

    Maybe pensions should be designed, like Social Security, to only be collected at a certain age. I really have a problem with people at the top (management) “retiring” with an immediate retirement check coming in with health benefits, then taking another job collecting another pension. (Bob Deis is an example of this). Or coming back to their old job part time for their “expertise”. This is collusion among managers at the top that they can always retire and continue to work at their last hourly rate bumping up their monthly income. It needs to stopped.

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  4. Think about who you blame... says:

    It is a shame that most Americans have accepted the bull dookie being fed them by the big corporations. I have never understood the concept of “racing to the bottom” and when the bull dookie eating American starts complaining about a pension that the public employee is going to be getting, that is exactly what they are promoting…”racing to the bottom!” Why complain about someone else getting something that you don’t get when you can start working with others to get something that we all should get! It’s called Collective Bargaining Rights! I don’t know about you, but I know that there are two ways to have power in America…one is to have money, the other is to have motivated people on your side with the ability to effectively communicate and stay organized. Oh well, I know that most of you will just click the Red Thumb because you don’t understand what I am talking about.

    It is unfortunate that we don’t consider education a highly rated commodity, that we treat teachers worse than Prison Guards, that we don’t pay them, we expect them to buy their own supplies, and then turn them loose in classrooms of 35+ kids and expect them to turn out our future. Our priorities are screwed, and because of that, we are too!

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  5. DK says:

    For Edward & Mockingbird,
    You both have it wrong. You are probably employees who have gotten everything you ever wanted and still think you should have. The private sector can’t retire at 55 with a retirement that someone else paid for. And most private retirees don’t get their medical to take with them either. You are the reason this state is in the condition it is along with Governor Jerry Brown. What has he done to fix the Retirement System that he said he would do when he got elected. Maybe the two of you should run for Board of Supervisors or City Council. Let’s see you try and fix the mess!!

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  6. Sandy M says:

    I’m sorry but wasn’t Stockton Ground Zero for the Foreclosure Crash? So why is it all this one guys fault? How many city employees bought homes with zero down and 103% financing and had bad credit? So instead they become a bunch of thugs looking for someone else to blame. Why don’t they go move next door to the mortgage brokers, the loan officers and the bank presidents that actually did this too Stockton? These are the groups that made your city the mess it’s in, not this one guy. He, along with other decision makers got stuck dealing with the mess left by others. Your anger is misplaced.

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  7. Edward says:

    One of the reasons Deis no longer works for Sonoma county is the fact he hired an outside law firm to conduct contract negotiations for $1.2 million, county money, when they have always handled it with county lawyers for about $100K combined. Now he does contract work for that law firm. Go figure. He shafted the Sonoma county taxpayers as much as their employees.

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  8. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    Stocktonian-Mr. Deis likes to hire attorneys on the public dime. Looks like he’s so mad at us he took it out on you all. Sorry about that.

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  9. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    Thomas, as much as I sympathize with Stockton’s situation, we just got rid of him. NO ONE wants him back, including our Board of Supervisors. Maybe someone will leak the reasons why, but they were substantial and didn’t just involve the mistreatment of employees.

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  10. Juvenal says:

    The same people who support small government, reduced regulation, and corporations’ right to “speak” with money (Citizens’ United) are shocked that a corporation, the Stockton POA, didn’t get that there is an unwritten zoning regulation, “Thou shalt not buy investment property next door to the City Manager.” Liberty is great for you, I guess, but poison when allowed to your political opponents.

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  11. Jim M says:

    I am all for public employee unions, but there is no reason for them to buy property in the city in which they work. At the very least it is a possible conflict of interest, suppose the firefighter’s union owned a number of houses and there was a major fire, which houses do you think they would work hardest to save? or if a union that the planning department employees were a part of bought some property and developed it? By the looks of it what happened here was much worse it was intimidation pure and simple, and it is not the way things should be done in this country. It does not matter what Deis was doing in his role as City Manager.

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  12. Thomas says:

    I currently live just outside of Stockton, my family and I moved out about 6 years ago when we could actually afford to move.

    Stockton is as bad as several of you have stated.

    I also know that most city employees are at their breaking point now due to mass lay off’s, no new hires for about 2 years, medical benefits just about non existant, an out of this world crime rate, salary being cut from 30-40 percent.

    Most firefighters and police are in the process of being hired by other agencies.

    Nearly half of the employees have already lost their homes to foreclosure or are in the process of doing so.

    and the list goes on and on and on…..

    Sound good? Then please come to Stockton and join our cesspool.

    And this Deis guy says his wife feels like she has been violated in some way????


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  13. Jim says:

    Ban Public Employee Unions! Time for them to work for the public again, not themselves. Nothing worse than a police gang.

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  14. DK says:

    Stockton is going to go bankrupt. And I blame the Police Officer’s Association. 90% of the Stockton city budget is police and fire and something has to give. These officers only think of themselves and to do the dirty illegal tactic they did is despicable. It is against the law to say where they live but they let the whole world know where Bob Deis lives. I hope the city sues the livin’ daylights out of them. And the Sonoma unions must be giving the Stockton police lots of ideas because they acted just like them when Bob was there. He would need police escorts at times due to their aggressions. Very sad how the union workers in this state think they should have everything they want. We are in big trouble the way things are going. The private sector retires without medical and probably half the retirement these greedy people are going to get. And they don’t seem to think anything is wrong. They need to wake up and look at what is happening all over this state. And Governor Brown is just as bad as they are.

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  15. Ricardo Sorentino says:

    RE: Sean – “Wow, the spin really worked on this one! Maybe Stockton POA bought the house for their officers to ha e a place to sleep during their work weeks since none of them want to actually live in that dump!”

    Zillow currently shows more than 3,000 homes for sale and rent (2,819 and 229) in Stockton… talk about putting on a spin on the facts there, Sean. I don’t know how many total homes there are in Stockton, but you actually believe that the police union could only find one next door to the city manager that they are fighting against?

    Guess I need to order some of them rose-colored glasses you must be wearing.

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  16. truth in news says:

    Darn clever those Stockton cops. I’ll bet they didn’t loose their benefits like sonoma county employees did. If I was deis I think I’d slither back under a rock in another state!

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  17. Stocktonian says:

    As a Stocktonian, I can tell you that Mr. Deis has done nothing for this City, except cause the crime to rise by laying off police officers and cutting their wages by 30%. Almost every department head has been fired since he started 13 months ago. The fire department has been dismantled, starting with the removal of the fire chief, laying off 36 firefighters, closing one fire house, reducing staffing levels for all remaining fire engines, and imposing a 25% pay cut for everyone else who decided to remain. Several have already quit. Mr. Deis’ union busting that occurred in Sonoma County has moved east 100 miles. His New York/Chicago style tactics are what caused the SPOA to purchase the house next door. We’ll call it, trying to be a good neighbor and hopefully rebuild a bad relationship. What was the result of it? The City’s code enforcement officers show up and write up the SPOA’s house (a pretty nice house at that) for all types of things that need to be fixed; cracks in the driveway, paint, etc. Talk about abusing your power and wasting tax dollars. The SPOA is forced to fix it all and Mr. Deis doesn’t like the noise from all the construction. To add to this, he used city funds to hire an attorney to make the SPOA sell the house. Bad decision! It will all come out and the truth over his resignation will soon be on the front page.

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  18. Jim M says:

    Someone should investigate it further, perhaps there is an enterprising reporter or blogger out there who could do that, this could be something that is picked up by a national commentator. It’s possible there is a perfectly reasonable explanation, but I don’t see why a police association would need a house, and why it would need to be next door to the City Manager? I have never heard of other police unions doing that. I agree with Bear that if there is any national union that that would be the best place to start. Stockton is taking them to court so hopefully that will shine a light on this. The absolute last thing we want in this country is police departments who think they can intimidate public officials

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  19. sean says:

    Wow, the spin really worked on this one! Maybe Stockton POA bought the house for their officers to ha e a place to sleep during their work weeks since none of them want to actually live in that dump! If they’re working 10-12 hour graveyard shifts and going to court in the middle of the day, and they live an hour away from the hellhole in which they work, it’s safer for them to have somewhere to catch a few z’s before they have to go back to work. Chances are that Deis probably lived in one of only a couple of decent neighborhoods, so there was probably slim pickin’s.

    Sure does make for better paper sales to paint the cops as thugs, though!

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  20. Fred says:

    Bob Deis is not a nice guy, anyone who ever worked with him will tell you that. That said, I find it very frightening when our police start engaging in thuggish behavior. Buying a house next door to someone in order to harass and intimidate is a mafia-like tactic. Do you think that Mr. Deis and his family felt that they would receive the same police service as anyone else if they were in danger? Of course not, yet police services are supposed to be a public good. The behavior of the police union is despicable.

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  21. Dan Delgado says:

    Jim M.,

    My thoughts, exactly. The real story here is the intimidation tactics of the Stockton POA. More and more the police are acting and looking like the old protection rackets of 19th century New York and Chicago. The “either pay the demanded tribute or we’ll put you and your family out of business” has been replaced with “acquiese to our outrageous salary demands or we can’t be responsible for the harm that will result.” And buying a house next door for the express purpose of intimidating the guy and his family (I mean, have you ever heard of a POA buying a house before?) isn’t even subtle. The cops are becoming the very people we need protection from.

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  22. John bly says:

    What was the Stockton POA thinking? That nobody would notice?

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  23. Jim M says:

    The real story here is did a police union really buy the property next door with the intention of intimidating a city manager? I am truly shocked.

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  24. Mike says:

    And there are those who want the UnSMART train linked with Bart and Stockton. Sounds like Stockton is an extension of Oakland.

    What a great travel destination that would be? Another good reason to vote NO on UnSMART.

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  25. Sam says:

    Deis strikes again! I wonder if Stockton will have to pay the rest of his term the way Sonoma County did? The man is a disgrace! He left a mess here and now he leaves a mess there…where will he strike again???

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  26. Truth Teller says:

    Not surprising. Anyone who had to deal with Deis at the County of Sonoma can attest that he is a particularly difficult person to work with. Why doesn’t he just find a job in the private sector?

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  27. Pearl Alquieres says:

    Stockton is a great place to visit but… well, nevermind.

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  28. JoeM says:

    this democrat thinks the government unions have killed the california dream. please get out of my party, you are an embarrassing selfish greedy replica of the far right.

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  29. david says:

    Gangs, police, and govt…three groups you never want to start a beef with.

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  30. bill says:

    This guy gets a lot of press coverage for someone who is not an elected official and a lot of public money to boot.

    It makes one think perhaps the position should be converted to an elected job if its chief responsibility is political in nature.

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  31. Dave Madigan says:

    Having lived in Lodi, I can say the same thing – STOCKTON SUCKS!

    Think of Watts or Compton during the riots….that’s a normal evening in Stockton.

    Gang violence, shootings, drug deals, rapes, murders and robberies. And that’s just among the elected offcials!

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  32. Mrs. Smith says:

    I would like to know the REAL reason Bob was forced to leave Sonoma County. What were the discrepancies? Please do tell!! We need to know what to look for. He didn’t get caught over here.

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  33. bear says:

    Regardless of anything else, the police union’s tactic of buying the house next door was unconscionable.

    It is nothing more than a hand-wrapped gift to Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and all the anti-union crew. I don’t know what their national union affiliation is, but if I were running the national, I’d throw these folks out.

    Absolutely the dumbest move I’ve seen or heard of in 30+ years.

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  34. ODB414 says:

    He is a hatchet man clear and simple. It’s a thankless job, but it comes with the territory. He came here, made his cuts and then to save face, the BOS asked for his “resignation”. Please quit, and by the way take this lucrative severence package. He served his purpose in Stockton and will either just retire on what I assume is another lucrative severence or move on to the next city that needs a hatchet man.

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  35. CJ says:

    I have never heard of this guy nor do I know about his reputation or anything like that but I don’t blame him Stockton SUCKS. It’s a crime ridden desolate cesspool, even with his high salary (I’m assuming) there no amount of money is enough to get someone to live there.

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  36. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    Retiring? He already retired-from Sonoma County. He got his golden parachute thanks to the BOS.

    He wasn’t popular here, among the county employees and the new BOA, for good reasons . I guess Stockton has found those same reasons.

    I guess the unions here were a lot nicer to him. None moved next door.

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