One has to wonder if the 3-2 vote to terminate the contract of new Tustin City Manager David Biggs after about six months on the job has to do with competence or politics. Tustin Mayor Jerry Amante led the 3-2 council majority in voting to terminate Biggs contract and suspend him with pay pending a hearing before the council next week.
The Register has details here.Â Biggs beat 55 other candidates for the job and has an impressive resume.Â From the Register story:
“He beat out 55 candidates for the position last year and had been the assistant city manager of Redondo Beach before joining Tustin. Before that, he served as the director of economic development and housing in Huntington Beach and as the city manager and director of economic development and housing in Morgan Hill.
Biggs had lived in Tustin after graduating college, and grew up in Orange County. Biggs graduated with a master’s of business and public administration from UC Irvine and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Cal State Fullerton.
Biggs could be terminated as soon as next month.Â
In an interview shortly after starting the job in mid-October, Biggs told the Register that Tustin’s biggest challenge was, “Budgetary issues and benefits are a big concern. Tustin is a fiscally conservative city, and doesn’t have the retirement funds that others have. There’s the issue of having to grapple with providing high level services verse what resources go into employee benefits so we are able to provide those services. I want to make sure we are factoring in all those costs.”
While Biggs is correct, another facet he likely didn’t anticipate is the way Mayor Jerry Amante wants things run.Â Amante was the target of the rally against theÂ city council majority’s lack of respect for members of the community who disagree with them.Â
Amante claimed the protest was purley partisan; and he’s righ. Those who protested don’t like Mayor Amante.Â From the Register story on the rally:
After Horvath spoke, Davert and Mayor Jerry Amante responded to the comments. A video of each meeting is published on the cityâ€™s website. A clip of that section of the meeting was aired on YouTube and the Liberal OC blog, and its popularity spread.
Horvath said he came to the meeting because he found the accusations in the mailer to be â€œhorrendous.â€ Numerous people called him after the meeting, he said, and e-mailed him in support of his comments.
â€œ(Amante) could have just said â€˜Thank you for your time, Mr. Horvath.â€™ And instead of doing the smart thing, he went off on me in a way I havenâ€™t been talked to in all my life,â€ Horvath said.
â€œIâ€™m just an average guy, a citizen of this city more than half my life,â€ he said.
So if Biggs beat out 55 other candidates and serves less than a half year before having his contract terminated, what message is the counil majority sending to other potential city manager candidates?Â Tow the line or there’s the door.Â Tustin will have a tougher time getting a quality candidate to replace Biggs.Â And there’s always the chance they will pay more for that candidate.Â
Photos courtesy of the OC Register