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Rohnert Park City Council OKs city manager pick

By JEREMY HAY
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

A 10-year veteran of Rohnert Park government was appointed city manager Tuesday on a 4-0 vote, with one council member abstaining from the vote over concerns about the proposed salary package.

Darrin Jenkins, assistant city manager and, over the past month, interim city manager, will be paid $189,000 to start, $24,000 more than his predecessor, who left for another position Nov. 6.

There was no suspense about the vote. No candidate search was done and city officials had put out a press release Monday under Mayor Pam Stafford’s name praising Jenkins.

But Councilwoman Gina Belforte said she could not vote for Jenkins with his attendant salary.

Rohnert Park City Hall.

Rohnert Park City Hall.

“Darrin, I think you’re going to do a good job, and if I could vote just for you, I would … and you’d get a yes,” Belforte said.

“But based on where we stand today with our finances, based on the heels of Measure A, I can’t support the contract,” Belforte said, referring to the indefinite extension of a half-cent city sales tax that voters approved Nov. 5.

Jenkins also has been the city’s engineer, public works director and development services director.

His contract includes a $398 monthly vehicle allowance, but also a key concession: the exclusion of retiree medical benefits. That will save the city more than $200,000 in future premiums, Stafford said.

“We have a committed person here, a person who knows this community,” Stafford said Tuesday.

Stafford and Vice Mayor Joe Callinan negotiated the contract.

“What I’m looking for in a city manager is that he is going to treat it like it’s his own business, and Darrin does that,” Callinan said. “He cares more about this city than most people do.”

After the meeting, Jenkins said he would move quickly to launch a search for a new assistant city manager.

He replaces Gabe Gonzalez, who left the city after three years to take a job in Kansas. Gonzalez was credited often by council members with leading the city back from a fiscal crisis so severe that officials were at one point talking about declaring bankruptcy.

Jenkins said that the city, which had a budget deficit of $1.2 million at last count, has the wind at its back now but still is confronting challenges.

“We’ve got the city going on the right track, definitely,” he said. “We also have some financial difficulties that we have to face, and we’re going to face them head on.”

You can reach Staff Writer Jeremy Hay at 521-5212 or jeremy.hay@pressdemocrat.com.





4 Responses to “Rohnert Park City Council OKs city manager pick”

  1. joe public says:

    If you think the potholes are bad…..

    Wait till you ask about the water mains, sewer lines, street and traffic lights …..

    Most of the city water/sewer lines are 20 years old or older with little or no maintenance…. other than fixing leaks.

    Your city government places more attention on items you can see and less on things you cant….when the rumbles start happening it is your pipes.

    Not to mention the lack of personal to take care of every day items like potholes there hasn’t been a streets department in years…….

    AND

    you wonder why people keep voting to “maintain” status quo with another tax…..

    Just like fixing burn victim with a band aid…….

    It will need more than just temporary fixes

    And definitely more employees to fix things rather than just a coat of paint or grass cut to make it “LOOK NICE”

    you can paint a turd to look like what ever you like …. but underneath it is still a turd

  2. James Bennett says:

    In an ICLEI town, the city mgr. and the planning dept. largely run the show.

    The elected officials; the council and mayor are there to lodge a charade that resembles civic’s class…but nothing could be further from the truth.

    As you may have gathered by now, the constituents don’t drive the bus.

    Globalist directive is dictated by NGOs.
    They bribe ICLEI charters with grant money and a lucrative future for the adherent.

    Their future is ‘sustainable’ (for now), but our freedoms, property rights and fiscal health…not so much.

  3. Greg Karraker says:

    When his compensation is reported as $189,000, is that just his salary or does it include his benefit package?

    Just across the border, in the dingy little Progressive town of Cotati, City Princess Dianne Thompson makes $213,000 in salary ad benefits, plus a leased Prius at over $9,000 a year.

    So it looks like Rohnert Park can work even harder at enlarging its public trough.

  4. David says:

    After the City cries poor mouth and gets a tax increase improved, they immediately give out a $24000 raise? Now they will hire him an assistant at his previous salary. They are set to get $12,000,000 a year from the tribe and they are hiring an entire staff to figure out how to spend it? When does this madness end?

    How about fixing the damn potholes!