Two high-level city of Temecula employees were placed on administrative leave due to “differences in management philosophy and goals,” said the city attorney.
City officials have been tight-lipped since giving walking orders to City Manager Bob Johnson on Nov. 13 and Chief Financial Officer Genie Wilson on Nov. 14.
“The City Council and City Staff will not discuss (their) placement...on administrative leave as these are personnel actions involving the employees and we will respect the privacy rights of the employees,” said Temecula City Attorney Peter Thorson, in a statement emailed to Patch.
“At the request of their legal counsel, I will confirm that these actions were based on differences in management philosophy and goals."
A large number of Temecula city employees belong to Teamsters Local 911, the president of which told The Press-Enterprise late last week that Johnson’s and Wilson’s management styles may have been causing a stressful work environment.
There was “considerable displeasure with (Johnson’s) management style,” Chester Mordasini, president of Teamsters Local 911 told the newspaper.
Shortly after Johnson assumed the role of city manager in January—replacing long-time City Manager Shawn Nelson—there was a reorganization of sorts, The Californian reported in a May article about the state of the city's budget.
Johnson’s permanent dismissal was set to be voted on during city council’s regularly scheduled meeting Nov. 27.
Until then, Community Services Director Aaron Adams has been appointed acting city manager.
In an email response Monday to Patch, Adams said no interim or acting CFO has been officially appointed since Wilson was placed on leave.
“I have assigned coverage/responsibilities to existing managers as a result of this vacancy,” Adams wrote. “This will assure proper coverage of all responsibilities.”
The chief financial officer—under the city's organizational chart—oversees administrative services. These include accounting and purchasing, strategic budgeting and operations, human resources, support services and information technology.
Wilson earned an annual salary of $180,466 including benefits as of 2010, according to the latest public salary information available from the California State Controller’s website.
Johnson's contracted salary was $215,000. If terminated, the contract specifies he is entitled to six months' salary in severance pay, as well as insurance benefits during those six months, according to city documents. However, if termination is the result of being charged or convicted of a felony, or engaging in corrupt or willful misconduct in office, his benefits would not be paid.
The specifics of Wilson's terms of employment were not readily accessible.
Neither Johnson nor Wilson were present during a Nov. 13 city council meeting at which Thorson announced Johnson had been placed on administrative leave.
The similar action taken against Wilson was confirmed by Adams Friday, after initial responses from city officials stating they would not comment on personnel-related matters.