Dirty Jobs OC Edition: Anaheim City Manager

Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait (Photo: Chris Prevatt)

Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait (Photo: Chris Prevatt)

I’m not a fan of reality TV, but there’s a show called “Dirty Jobs” (now cancelled by The Discovery Channel) that documented truly awful jobs people do — like “Road Kill Cleaner” or “Zoo Cage Cleaner.”  Jobs that usually involve excrement, dirt, sweat, terrible heat or freezing cold; a job that offers no respect and you need to shower after work instead of before it.

In Orange County, that job belongs to whoever is Anaheim’s City Manager. 

Paul Emery is the current unappreciated occupant of the chair and with a new council majority in place, there’s a chance he’ll be axed due to demands of the pro-Tait crowd.  The Voice of OC reports that Emery may be on his way out.

From the story (titles added referenced earlier in the story):  “The shift could also mean a shakeup of the city’s top leadership. (Mayor Tom) Tait has often clashed with city officials, accusing them of manipulating budget numbers to inflate the resort district’s contributions to the budget and downplay the impacts of hotel subsidies.

At recent council meetings, some residents have called for the new council to fire City Manager Paul Emery as one of their first acts.

Neither Tait nor (Council member-elect Jose) Moreno would say whether they will push to replace top city staff – nor did they rule it out.

“I’d want to see a city manager who shares my vision for the city [of] creating a culture of kindness…and focusing on the community,” said Tait.

Even while in the Council minority, finding a city manager who shares Tait’s vision of “kindness” is a laughable thing.  Tait’s not kind at all to any city manager under his tenure as Anaheim’s mayor. Since Tait was elected in 2010, Anaheim has had four city managers and perhaps a fifth is in place.  There are rumors that a past City Manager filed personnel complaints against the Mayor for verbal abuse — documents shielded from public view due to the personnel nature of the complaint.

But if Tait wants a city manager to have a vision of a “culture of kindness” perhaps he ought to practice what he preaches.

Here’s the breakdown: 

Since Mayor Tait was first elected in 2010, Anaheim City Managers include: 

Tom Wood, June 2009 – November 2011

Bob Wingenroth, Interim: November 2011 – June 2012; Permanent: June 2012 – June 2013

Marcie Edwards, Interim: May 2013 – July 2013; Permanent: July 2013 – February 2014

Paul Emery, Interim: February 2014 to July 2015; Permanent: July 2015 to current

Having a city manager in place for a long haul provides a measure of  stability for Anaheim City Hall staff.  Churn at the top creates more churn at the bottom and if residents aren’t happy with the performance of the rank and file at City Hall, maybe it’s because these workers have to perform under conditions where there’s a new top executive every 12 to 18 months.  In the private sector, companies with constant churn at the top are ….failures.

If the new Council majority fire Emery before July 2017, he gets a year’s salary for his severance which includes a merit increase granted during a November performance review.  Emery makes $298,700 a year (about a third of what CATER’s lawsuit over public records documents cost the city in legal fees).  If the council fires Emery after July 2017, Emery gets six months severance and membership in the club of folks Tait is unable to work with in a professional manner.

Tait’s gripe here is his perception of a lack of communication from Emery about the Hotel subsidy deal which Disney leaked to the OC Register and Emery informed all the council members about on June 8; Tait had heard the news by then and the city’s PIO defended the process of council member communication on applications filed because they often change before an actual application is submitted.  PIO Mike Lyster is on record saying Disney shouldn’t be treated differently than anyone else. And they shouldn’t.

While the new council may end the Hotel Subsidy Program — one where private developers build a 4-star hotel at their risk creating thousands of good jobs at good wages before the first guest books a room and checks out before a dime of subsidy is paid –but eliminating the subsidies granted in June will likely result in lawsuits filed by developers against the city for tens of millions if not hundreds of millions of dollars.

The new Council majority is talking about raising wages and creating new jobs; the state’s minimum wage will take care of the first and there’s no tangible plan on the second matter. And kindess in Anaheim really doesn’t exist when the Mayor is churning through city managers like leased cars.

But back to the Dirty Jobs OC edition — if Emery is fired, he shouldn’t have any trouble landing a new gig.  The previous city managers all landed on their feet just fine.









  9 comments for “Dirty Jobs OC Edition: Anaheim City Manager

  1. junior
    December 2, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    “New council majority ..” – remains to be seen .. you may be surprised.

  2. December 3, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    Wingenroth and Edwards left because of Tait, not the Murray majority? Yeah right, Johnny One-note.

    • Fly on the 7th Floor Wall
      December 5, 2016 at 8:03 am

      Tait needlessly terminated Tom Wood back in 2011, setting off the chain-reaction of instability that’s afflicted city hall ever since.

      Edwards got a better offer to run the LA DWP, but helping her make that decision is the fact that Tom Tait stormed into her office and went verbally postal on her, prompting her to file a complaint with HR.

      Now Tait wants to can another city manager because he isn’t Tait’s puppet.

    • December 5, 2016 at 10:31 am

      Wingenroth gladly went back to Arizona due to acrimony with Tait. Tom Wood was pretty much fired by Tait after a 20 year career with the city and nothing but positive performance reviews. No notice; no warning. Edwards got a much better offer from LA and it was a hell of a lot easier for her to accept it due to a poor relationship with Tait. Do your homework. I did.

      • December 5, 2016 at 4:24 pm

        Naturally any confidantes you have on the 7th floor share your animus against Tait. Wingenroth advised against the Gardenwalk Giveaway and was therefore driven off by the Murray Majority (just as Cristina Talley was fired for advising them to stop fighting the districting lawsuit.) Marcie left for a better offer period, although she seemed not to enjoy the acrimony between the two sides, blame that on whichever side you like.

        “Do your research.” This Irvine buffoon thinks he’s gonna teach me about Anaheim.

        • December 5, 2016 at 5:06 pm

          your lack of insight into why Marci left is all I need to know.

          Yeah, you know shit about Anaheim.

          Go kneel before Tait some more; if he tells you Marcie didn’t file a compliant against him, that’s all I need to know about your ability to know where the truth lies

  3. OCDEM
    December 4, 2016 at 9:19 pm

    It was great to participate in todays “Winter Wonderland” event, sponsored by the LASD In Whittier.

    Abused children from all over Eastern LA County were able to call “Time Out” from their trecherous pasts and have fun for a bit.

    It was only at the end that I realized this event was designed for kids like Jose Moreno’s nephews and neices.

    Maybe we need to give more credit to Jose. Let your drunk family BEAT DOWN your Wife and kids. And instead of arresting the Violent Abuser, we’ll have a snowflake festival for the kids with broken ribs and black eyes.

    Meanwhile from our UPPER MIDDLE CLASS Westmont home we’ll cheer.

    Hey it makes us feel better.

    Iggy, WE LOVE YOU.

    Kids….blame your Mom.

    • Orange is the New Black
      December 5, 2016 at 11:56 am

      Jose’s wife’s family comes off bad here. Resolve the property issues so she. An sell the house, put Iggy’s fish tank in storage. Maybe Jose ought to let his brother in law live with them when iggy gets out of jail

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