So there was some good news at last night’s City Council meeting, City Manager Clay Phillips is retiring as of December 18, 2015. Mayor Sam Abed said he would retire so he could devote more time for making wine. Maybe. Perhaps he was rattled by the disclosure that he had hired a white supremacist as a division coordinator in his office. See: http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2015/sep/10/escondido-fired-city-manager-office-anti-Semitic/ Doubtful, don’t think Abed et al. were too concerned. Abed gave a brief history of Phillips’ time, concluding that he had been part of a great team, and that he would be missed. The audience applauded, well most of the audience, I did not.
Abed’s history did not include the subject that garnered Phillips the most headlines—his high salary. In 2005, he received a raise of $45,504, increasing his pay to $215,504 plus benefits. Lyle Davis wrote about that at the time: http://www.thecommunitypaper.com/2005/09_29_05/coverstory.php In 2013 the headline was: “Escondido city manager becomes county’s highest paid”: http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2013/jul/09/escondido-phillips-city-manager-raise/ . In that article, David Garrick reported, “In addition, they are eligible for large pensions. Phillips, 56, would receive an annual pension higher than $200,000 if he continues working until age 60.” Hmmm. So, by my math, if his birthday was after July 9, the oldest Phillips could be by December 18, would be 59. So maybe the wine business is good enough to give up that “over $200,000”.
City Attorney Jeff Epp will miss his colleague in highly paid city staff. In 2012, Epp hired Phillips’ son Adam as a deputy city attorney. As Councilwoman Olga Diaz said at the time, the City Attorney’s office is responsible for making sure the activities done by the city are legal, and having the City Manager’s son in a position to judge the validity of his father’s actions was a problem. http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2012/mar/23/city-managers-son-hired-deputy-city-attorney/
Who knows what the probable new City Manager’s, Graham Mitchell’s, tenure will bring. As Mitchell seems to be an acolyte of Phillips, doubt there will be much change. But, hope springs eternal.
Please cite for me the evidence that Graham Mitchell is a Phillips “acolyte”. He was hired by Phillips, to be sure. That doesn’t imply much of anything. He’s only been with the city a relatively short time…unlike many others in senior management. That hardly gives much time to become one. Presumably you have spoken with him. What views did he express that gave you the impression he is a Phillips follower?
In the May 6, 2015, article of the UT, Graham was quoted:
“Clay Phillips is highly respected in San Diego County. He has the most tenure of all city managers in the county. I have lot to learn from him. There is also a lot of opportunities to learn with a city of 150,000, a full-service city that is really well run and managed very well.” http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2015/may/06/lemon-grove-city-manager-resigns/ .
But, perhaps acolyte is too strong a word. Mea culpa.