FOR THE FIRST TIME IN YEARS HEMET CITY COUNCIL EVALUATES A CITY MANAGER WITHOUT TERMINATING HIM

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Image 1 - Honorees included: Linda Krupa, Loti Van Arsdale, Staci Olson, Carolyn Jones and Carol Frances Photo Courtesy of Rusty Strait

Tuesday night’s Hemet City Council meeting presented quite a surprise to those of us who cover this twice-monthly event. In closed session, the Council evaluated the performance of City Manager Chris Lopez and came back into public session with a thumbs up on his performance which, for the first time in years, did not result in termination. We have attempted to contact Lopez for comment but have been unable to do so by press time.

The IT presented a highlight reel of recent accomplishments in Hemet, which can now be seen on the City’s website. A couple of dozen citizens were honored for dedication to the City in voluntary roles by the Council and some received commendations from the State for services which have enhanced the City in various ways. Several nurses from the Hemet Hospital spoke, requesting the City support them in their negotiations with the hospital for better working conditions and other issues, claiming that they were on the verge of a strike if their efforts and demands were not met. Mayor Karlee Meyer reminded them that the City has nothing to do with hospital matters.

The Council received and approved the FY2019/2020 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2020. The private auditing company stated that the City was given the highest rating they have to offer, which brought a round of smiles from the council members.

Staff recommended the Council conduct a public hearing, adopt a resolution approving the fiscal year 2020-2021 capital improvement and authorize the finance director to establish total project appropriations per the CIP for new requests. There was much discussion about the large number of street improvements, including paving and slurry over the past year and projects currently being performed or scheduled for this year. City Manager Chris Lopez made a special effort to thank the Council and staff for their cooperation in accomplishing these goals. The Mayor noted that citizens will be advised in advance of work to be done on their neighborhood streets, which includes paving, slurry and curbing.

Staff recommended that the Council waive further reading and adopt by title only an ordinance adding Division 6 to Article III of Chapter 2 of the Hemet Municipal Code related to the City Treasurer. (Second Reading and Adoption).

Approved minutes of the closed session and regular city council meeting minutes of March 9, 2021, and a resolution authorizing the City Manager to Utilize Munitemps, Municipal Staffing Solutions, on an as-needed basis for a one-year term, and authorizing the City Manager to Execute Contracts and Purchase Orders in support of temporary staffing agency services.

Staff recommended authorizing the City Manager to execute the attached Memorandum of Understanding between the City and Service Employees International Union for the three-year period of July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2022 and adopt a Resolution amending the Fy20/21 Budget in support of this agreement and authorize the Finance Director to record a supplemental appropriation in the amount of $422,430 to cover the cost of increases related to FY19/20 and FY20/21.

Staff recommended that Council Adopt a resolution relating to salary ranges and benefits for confidential personnel, establishing policy with respect to the requirements, responsibilities and conditions of employment of “Confidential Personnel” of the City of Hemet, and Repealing Resolution No. 4850 and authorize the Finance Director to record a supplemental appropriation to cover the cost of increases related to FY19/20 AND FY20/21.

Staff recommended the Council authorizes the City Manager to execute a Memorandum of Understanding between the City and the Hemet Mid Managers Association for the three year period of July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2022 and adopt a Resolution amending the FY20/21 Budget in support of this agreement and authorize the Finance Director to record a supplemental appropriation in the amount of $208,922 to cover the cost of increases related to FY19/20 AND FY20/21. Staff recommended the Council adopt a resolution and approve the City’s classification and compensation plan for employee salary ranges.

Finally, directed staff to continue with all-risk property coverage, no additional appropriation required. Directed staff to participate in all or a portion of the balance of the property programs listed; authorize finance director to record a supplemental appropriation for the prorated amount of any additional programs the City will participate in.

Finally, the Council approved the legal services agreement with Cole Huber LLP with periodic reviews.

Last but not least, the various council members gave their reports on committee assignments as well as ad-hoc committees—none of these required actions at this time since they merely reported not agenda items for approval.

As city council meetings go, this one was particularly important in that the Council seemed to be pleased with the performances of both the City Manager and the City Attorney. For Hemet, that can be considered an improvement over the past. When the entire Council is on the same page, the City always profits.

Just sayin’ [email protected]

Rusty Strait • Senior Reporter

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