The Temecula City Council voted 3-0 to relieve former City Manager Bob Johnson of his duties, it was announced Tuesday night.
The decision, read by City Attorney Peter Thorson shortly after a closed session meeting, did not include votes from councilmen Jeff Comerchero and Ron Roberts who were not present.
Thorson confirmed the appointment of Community Services Director Aaron Adams as acting city manager, but did not disclose the reason for Johnson’s dismissal.
In a statement released on Nov. 19, Thorson reiterated the city’s stance of favoring privacy in personnel matters.
“The City Council and City Staff will not discuss the placement of City Manager Robert C. Johnson and Chief Financial Officer Genie Wilson on administrative leave as these are personnel actions involving the employees and we will respect the privacy rights of the employees. At the request of their legal counsel, I will confirm that these actions were based on differences in management philosophy and goals,” Thorson said.
The released statement was in response to the decision to place City Manager Bob Johnson on administrative leave on Tuesday, Nov. 13.
It was learned that Chief Financial Officer Genie Wilson was also placed on leave, but her status is not known at this time.
The move surprised many residents and has left others with questions on what precipitated the decision.
Mayor Chuck Washington also has declined to cite specific reasons for the changes, but did offer that the council strives to always maintain a positive vision for the city.
Johnson assumed city manager duties in January after Shawn Nelson left the post in Dec. 2011 after serving for nearly 10 years.
Additional agenda items included:
City Council approved an agreement with Simon Wong Engineering to replace the Main Street Bridge over Murrieta Creek in the amount $101,485. The City Manager was also authorized to approve extra work not to exceed 10 percent of the agreement. The new bridge will be a steel truss bridge with decorative flourishes at its entrances, estimated to cost $6 million. The price of the project includes the removal of the existing 67-year old structure.
The new bridge will be pedestrian-friendly and safer during heavy rains when the creek swells and floods. Cal Trans approved the design and construction phase in August.
According to a city report, Simon Wong Engineering has been working on every facet of the project since 2004. The project is funded with Capital Project Reserves and the Federal Highway Bridge Program. Construction is expected to be completed in June 2014.
Council also on Tuesday night reported the YMCA of Riverside City and County is in default on its lease agreement for land on Margarita Road, the site of a building the YMCA hoped to sell to the city.
City Attorney Peter Thorson made the announcement late Tuesday night. Council voted 3-0 that the YMCA was in default. In May, council approved to spend $1.6 million to buy the building that sits on the land, a 14,832-square-foot facility that includes a lap pool, multipurpose rooms and gym equipment
Thorson announced the building had been abandoned by the YMCA and that the city had not been in contact with the YMCA officials for more than a month.
The City Manager was also approved to purchase 25 Hewlett Packard 8300 computer workstations at a price of $17,964.37 with Cyber Computers, Inc.
Temecula’s Police Department released a report Tuesday highlighting statistics on crime and crime prevention in the city.
In October, the police department received close to 3,000 calls and had an average response time of 5.66 minutes for priority one calls.
The police helped remove over 2,800 square feet of graffiti and 14 felony arrests. For traffic activity, 1093 citations were issued for hazardous violations and 477 for non-hazardous citations. DUI arrests reached 45 and 188 cell phone ticket violations were issued. The Promenade Mall kept police busy with 853 calls including less than ten felony arrests and close to 30 misdemeanors.
The next regular meeting is at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 11 for a closed session, with regular session commencing at 7 p.m., City Council Chambers, 41000 Main Street in Temecula.
*Updated agenda items were contributed by SWRNN writer Michelle Mears-Gerst