OAKDALE -- It cost the city nearly $60,000 last week to part ways with Public Works Director Joe Leach.
Oakdale owed him $19,919 for his accumulated leave time, such as sick and vacation hours.
It also agreed to pay him $40,000 to settle his claim that he was owed six months' severance pay, or about $56,000, based on the labor agreement that covered him and other senior managers.
The city's position was that Leach was not entitled to severance and the labor agreement had expired. But Oakdale made a business decision to resolve the dispute and avoid a protracted legal fight.
"The legal fees would have exceeded the amount he was claiming," said San Jose attorney Lisa Aguiar, who handles Oakdale's personnel matters.
Aguiar said she spent about two hours on this matter. Her firm charges the city $325 an hour for her time.
Leach, who had been Public Works director for nearly three years, declined to comment or release the name of his attorney.
The city notified him in late April that the labor agreement for senior managers would not be renewed when it expired June 30 and his employment would end in July.
Leach quit Friday. The amount the city paid him for leave time and severance was after taxes.
Bee staff writer Kevin Valine can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2316.
OAKDALE CITY COUNCIL WATCH
The Oakdale City Council on Monday:
Named Lt. Lester Jenkins police chief and ratified a four-year contract for his new position. Jenkins had served as interim chief since January. He replaced Chief Marty West, who retired. Jenkins, 55, has spent his entire 22-year law enforcement career with the city. His contract calls for him to earn $129,456 annually. There will be a swearing-in ceremony at 6 p.m. Monday at Dorada Park. Jenkins will ride in on horseback.
Watched Mayor Pat Paul administer the oath of office to newly appointed city Treasurer JR McCarty. The council appointed McCarty late last month after interviewing him and two other candidates. McCarty is filling the vacancy created by the May resignation of former Treasurer Mike Murray. McCartys term expires in November, when voters will elect the next treasurer.
Approved a one-year contract with Amy Augustine, the principal of Augustine Planning Associates, for grant-writing services. The contract is worth up to $20,000. Augustine prepared the citys recent successful grant in which the state awarded Oakdale $4.3 million for a community park with a skate park, amphitheater and other features.
Additionally, Monday was the first council meeting for interim City Manager Stan Feathers, who replaced interim City Manager Greg Wellman. Oakdale has not had a permanent city manager since April 2011 and has relied on temporary managers. Wellman, a retired local government manager, could not continue as city manager without violating state pension rules. Feathers also is a retired local government manager. Feathers will earn $73 an hour without benefits. Wellman will continue to work for the city part-time in another role at $73 an hour without benefits. The city is recruiting for a permanent city manager and hopes to fill the position within the next several months.