SEASIDE — Two items on the Seaside City Council agenda this week pertain to the pending employment of the new city manager — resolutions increasing the salary for the position and another approving an appointment and employment agreement.
The city of Seaside announced Friday that Jaime Fontes had been made a conditional offer of employment as its new city manager and the next step would be the council’s action on the two agenda items at its Thursday meeting.
If both resolutions are approved, it would pave the way for Fontes to begin work on July 1.
Fontes, the former East Palo Alto city manager, was hired by the Bay Area city in 2019 and completed his three-year contract that ended on April 30.
Seaside’s former City Manager Craig Malin resigned and his last day was Sept. 3, 2021. He said after being unable to see his family in the Midwest due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he wanted to spend more time with them.
The city’s Human Resources Director Roberta Greathouse has stepped in as acting city manager since Malin’s departure.
In October, Seaside entered into an agreement with Peckham & McKenney Executive Research to conduct the recruitment of a new city manager for an amount not to exceed $33,000.
The city’s recruiter conducted a salary survey and determined that the city’s salary for the city manager was not competitive. The City Council authorized an increase in salary from $210,000 to $250,000 annually. The increase would go into effect on the new hire’s proposed start date.
Seaside will increase the city manager’s operating budget by $40,000 in the 2022-2023 fiscal year, according to city documents. City staff recommends reviewing the city manager’s budget at the annual mid-year budget review meeting and adjusting the budget at that time, if necessary.
Seaside said that during its nationwide recruitment effort and selection process conducted by Peckham & McKenney, a number of applications were received from highly qualified individuals. After the initial screening, the council went through a selection process that included two rounds of interviews with the City Council, interviews with the city’s executive team, reference and background checks, and a leadership assessment.
The city manager leads and coordinates city operations and takes direction from the five-member Seaside City Council.
The City Council appoints the city manager and sought an experienced candidate who would embrace the diversity of the community and is open to different perspectives while exhibiting strong leadership skills, discipline, integrity, financial understanding and exceptional business skills.
In addition to his work with East Palo Alto, Fontes has served as city manager for the city of Nogales, Arizona, and the cities of Santa Paula and Greenfield in California.
The cities of Seaside and East Palo Alto have similar population numbers and profiles according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s July 2021 population estimates, which peg Seaside at 32,085 and East Palo Alto at 28,847. Seaside’s African American population is 7.4% of the total population of the city, compared to East Palo Alto’s at 12.1%. The Hispanic or Latino population in Seaside is 44.8%, while in East Palo Alto it is 60.6%. The white population in Seaside is 30.4%, and in East Palo Alto it is 13.2%. Other segments of the population, such as Asian and Pacific Islander, make up less than 10% each in the numbers of both cities.
The proposed employment contract for the next Seaside city manager includes an annual salary of $250,000, a monthly auto allowance of $400, a temporary monthly housing reimbursement of $1,666.67 for up to one year to assist Mr. Fontes in moving, relocating to and living in the city of Seaside, moving expenses not to exceed $12,500, retirement, medical, dental, and leave provisions at rates consistent with the city’s executive management team.
Contributed by local news sources