Modesto is looking at narrowing the duties of its top information technology official. This comes after two city investigations substantiated allegations that he had disrespected two female staff members.
Chief Information Officer John Dickey would no longer manage the Information Technology Department but instead focus on high-priority projects, according to a proposal from acting City Manager Joe Lopez that the City Council will consider Tuesday. He said one of the department’s managers would oversee the day-to-day operations on an interim basis.
Dickey actually is a contractor with Modesto-based Datapath. The city contracts with the company at an annual cost of $210,936 for Dickey’s services. He has been Modesto’s chief information officer since March 2015. The council extended the contract for three years in May 2016.
Lopez’s proposal calls for canceling the contract and replacing it with a new one for a term of one year and at a cost not to exceed $75,000. The contract could be renewed for an additional year for the same amount. His proposal includes a quote from Datapath for $75,000 for these services.
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Lopez wrote in a report to the council that Dickey has “demonstrated a strong skill set and vision, both of which is necessary (to) continue to move the City forward in the information technology area.” The report also said managing the department has taken up Dickey’s time at the expense of the high-priority projects.
But the city investigations substantiated allegations that Dickey had interrupted one female staffer as she spoke and told her in a raised voice as he pointed at her, “look, honey,” and trying to slap the wrist of the other female staffer on one occasion and poking her in the arm on another. The incidents occurred over the summer and during meetings with Dickey and other IT staff.
Dickey strongly denied the allegations to city investigators and to The Bee. He admitted saying, “look, honey” but said it was a slip of the tongue and not said in anger.
Lopez said through city spokeswoman Amy Vickery that his proposal is in response to the investigations, saves Modesto money and allows Dickey to spend his time on projects. But Lopez’s report says Modesto expects to incur additional costs “to manage the work of the IT Department and to scale up or down existing workloads, but at this time those costs have not been identified.”
Dickey did not return a phone call Friday afternoon seeking comment.
The proposal is listed among the consent items on the council’s meeting agenda. Consent items are approved all at once and without discussion unless a council member or someone else asks that an item be pulled for discussion or questions.
The council also will:
▪ Consider allowing residents to water outdoor three times a week from June through October, up from the current outdoor watering schedule of twice a week.
▪ Meet in closed session to discuss the potential sale of surplus property and get an update on the city’s possible purchase of the downtown property bordered by Ninth, 10th, E and F streets. City officials declined to comment because these matters would be discussed in closed session.
The council meets at 5:30 p.m. in the basement chambers of Tenth Street Place, 1010 10th St.
Kevin Valine: 209-578-2316