Thursday, May 10, 2007

Happy Cotton

Encinitas approves 20 percent raise for city manager

Newbie city manager Phil Cotton received a whopping 20% raise last night.

20%, whew! That is a fat raise! Especially for a guy who has only been on the job for six months.

He's done a good job so far. But let's face it, how hard was it to "save" the city money by simply not following former city manager's shell game of a budget?

Mayor Bond and Jerome Stocks pushed for the 20% raise citing the pay scale for neighboring cities. Oops, those cities are twice as large as Encinitas.

Phil Cotton now makes $198,723 with a full pension. He will be living the good life as he already has a pension coming to him from his honorable military career.

I wasn't against Cotton getting a raise, but 10% would have been reasonable, generous even after 6 months on the job.

Houlihan and Barth praised Cotton but complained that the subcommittee of Mayor James Bond and Deputy Mayor Jerome Stocks presented inadequate information to justify such a hefty raise.

Stocks defended the amount, saying his recommendation complied with a council policy that sets employee salaries at the midrange of those among similarly sized cities.

Houlihan said she received no comparative analysis until Monday, and that the full City Council never had agreed upon a pay range within which the subcommittee would negotiate.

Barth noted that the analysis itself was flawed because it compared Encinitas to cities such as Carlsbad and Escondido, which are twice as big.

Beyond that, she said, the 20 percent raise would be difficult to explain to other employees.

"I don't want to be put in that position to explain to the rank and file why they should only get 3 percent," Barth said.

This should make you happy, Leucadia improvements will start this year:

In other business Wednesday, the council awarded a $2 million construction contract to 3D Enterprises to improve Leucadia Boulevard between Vulcan and Hermes avenues. The project includes roundabouts at Hermes and Hymettus avenues.

Landscaped medians and meandering walkways would provide safe havens for pedestrians who today must cross a boulevard that is up to 50 feet wide.

In addition to the Hermes and Hymettus roundabouts, the first phase of the Leucadia job would include curbs, gutters, sidewalks, streetlights and bike lanes on both sides of the boulevard from Vulcan to Hermes; the construction of left-turn lanes on northbound and southbound Vulcan Avenue; and an asphalt pathway on the north side of Leucadia Boulevard from Hermes to Interstate 5.

The pathway would be replaced with concrete sidewalks during a second phase of construction.

The second phase, which is not yet budgeted, would add a third roundabout at Hygeia, where today there is a four-way stop sign. It also would add sidewalks to both sides of the boulevard all the way to the freeway and would include landscaping on the sides and on a median for the busy road.

Blair Knoll, a city engineer, told the council he expects the six-month job to begin in June.


  1. Just remember, come election time, which (boys) voted for this unsightly pay raise. Remember when they come back to your pocket crying no money like they have tried three times in the recent past.

    Apparently there is a telephone poll being conducted by the city that is asking what you think of Bond and Dalager's performance and if you would like to see the Brown property upzoned.

    I say; e-mail the city council now and let them know what you think. Don't wait for the telephone call to your home to vent your opinion.

  2. Cotton HASN'T helped this city save money. Remember the Mossy property fiasco.

    Cotton recommended that the city buy the overprice car dealership property because it was turnkey and ready to move in.

    The council approved the purchase, then learned that half a million dollars was needed to fix a few things. Now the new proposed budget lists the need for an undermined amount of money but at least two million dollars for additional fixing up of Cotton's turkey purchase. Cotton's
    recommendations may have cost the taxpayers a lost of 5 million dollars.

    Any other council would say adios to the city manager with that performance. Not Stocks, Dalager, and Bond.

    Stocks, Dalager, and Bond - inept, fiscally irreponsible, ________ (you fill in the blanks).

  3. I just about puked when I read this article in the UT this morning. This would never happen in the private sector without a shareholder revolt (and as a taxpayer each of us are shareholders in Encinitas).

    My breakfast came up all the way when I read Jeromes juvenile guest editorial on the smoking ban. He says that he did not support prop C but you would have never known when that battle was in progress. He blamed it on Maggie which is pure chicken___. This guy is out of touch with the voters and needs to go ASAP.

  4. I just want to see to whom the Mossy family gives campaign dollars - that was the sweetest deal ever for that family. Full market price AND the tax break for the "taking" by a government entity. Some "taking" - the government buying a property that was already on the market.

  5. $429,000 Year Salary!!May 10, 2007 10:52 AM

    Phil cotton now earns roughly $200K for serving 60,000(rounded #)citizens or $3.30 per citizen. The city manager of Escondido earns $240K for serving 130,000(again a rounded #) citizens or $1.70 per citizen. Cotton is earning twice the salary that the city manager of Escondido does on a per citizen basis!!! If the city manager of Escondido earned what Cotton does on a per citizen basis he would be earning $429,000 per year!!!

    Can anyone argue that these men are underpaid?? Can you argue that they are over paid? Don't forget they pay no rent for their offices nor staff salaries come out of their earnings. They receive a city car and expense account along with paid health care and life insurance. It is all too crazy!!

    Their pension will be 85% of their final salary, where ever that may stop, your guess is as good as mine.

    Look for the firefighters to want GIANT pay increases along with new fire stations. Where will it stop?? You taxpayers had better learn to say NO!!!!!!

    Any small business owner would lover to have these salaries and benefits!!

    Any manager at 7-11 could run this city or any city for that matter. You people are being scammed and your wallets are the victims of pillage and thieves!!


  6. By shawn1874 on 05/10/2007

    I think it is normal in any type of "profession" to establish a worth associated with it. As an engineer, I know how much to ask for if I go looking for a job; based on what other engineers with similar pay raises get. We are stuck in a catch-22 here. Somehow, public servants at all levels started receiving huge pay/benefits packages and now it seems like a common argument that all public servants in all cities have to get a comparable package in order to guarantee that the job is attracting highly qualified applicants. I can understand that viewpoint, although I think it is absurd to say that you can't live in the coastal area on 165k a year. I lived in cardiff on 80k a year and did just fine. In most jobs; cost of living is not a consideration. Engineers in San Diego don't make much more than they do in St. Louis, MO. But I guarantee you'd make a better living in St. Louis since you can actually buy a house for less than 200,000. I think Americans, including me, like to complain about these unfair benefits packages. But not many of us have a solution. I think the only solution that would work is rebellion. Are we willing to go that far? Is the system that bad yet? Or do we just complain and then move on with our lives? In Tennesee; people rebelled over the income taxes by relentlessly harassing the "servants" as they were leaving capitol hill with non-stop demonstrations, threats, and even rock throwing. Say what you want about the French; but sometimes rebellion is the only way for the people to reclaim government by the people; for the people. Since the people of Encinitas did nothing; I can only assume that they aren't too concerned about it. So that's how it is.

  7. Roadside park bumMay 10, 2007 4:12 PM

    shawn1874- If you lead, they will follow!!


  8. City engineer Blair Knoll said that he expects the Leucadia Blvd. project just approved to take six months beginning in June. That means it will be finished in December. Any bets that it won't be finished on time or on budget?

  9. nofaxlady-the "boys" used the city guidelines to set the salary. It is the guidelines for city manager that need to be adjusted.

    the boys did not take that information back to the other three members of council. instead they charged ahead and completed the "negotiated" tentative salary on their own. the mayor placed it on the consent calendar assuming that it was a done deal and that's that. that was a "little mistake". the press (adam kaye) was hot on the item and to try to appear united a quick council/city manager employment contract meeting was held at the last minute.

    the "usual suspects", like sharks to blood, then publicly undressed some members of the council and put the city manager in an awkward position.

    maggie and teressa cared that they had been left out of the loop on an important decision and were uncomfortable enough that they could not, in good conscious, rubber stamp something that had been improperly presented and poorly explained.

    we know dalager couldn't have been involved because he told us what a great negotiator he was when he worked on the mossy property "negotiations". guess stocks and bonds had the tax payers dollars well in hand and dalager agreed, you know, a guy thing.

    i simply cannot believe any city conducted poll would read as nofaxlady has presented the "what do you think of....?"

    anon930 unfortunately it happens all the time in the private sector, that's part of the problem. very poor role models.
    jerome feels a little backed against the wall right now is scurrying to establish a solidified voter base. the article looks like it might have been written by a future campaign manager.

    i don't know who got the leucadia contract but if it was Hubbard it might come in on time and on budget.

  10. I just love the fact that the Leucadia project is being built. With the strong showing from LTC and others the 2nd remaining phase may be pushed up a few years and we will get a beautiful unique roadway that serves the community well. I would like to see that kind of progress continue. Thanks to all the people who are involved in change for the better. God knows we can use it-the traffic is killing us. I hate to say, but like someone else posted,

    Welcome to LA

    I hope we can have the vision and fortitude to make our beach city better than Redondo Beach.

  11. Cotton gives the fire union a big ol fat raise come raise time.

    Hey Cotton- you want to prove your worth- tie all public employee union wages to the CPI and give spot bonuses for the better performers.

    Everyone knows the public employees union needs to be broke- The deadwood needs to go!!! The broke public is tired of paying for the deadbeats.

    Cotton- step up and prove your worth! Show you actually have balls…If you prove you’re actually valuable- then your worth your $200,000 in perpetuity! Tie raises to CPI and fire the deadwood!

  12. The boys voted for his raise while the girls sang his praise!!!
    Pathetic, personal, petty politics prevented the girls from voting for the dough, but they professed love for Phil Cotton even so.

  13. They'll need to raise taxes after this pay increaseMay 11, 2007 12:30 AM

    The reporters missed the extra 9% in deferred compensation bringing the total pay to $216,000. This is an additional 4% raise over the previous City Manager's 5% deferred comp pay. That makes the total raise $43,000 in stead of the $33,000 reported in the papers.

    Our City Manager made out like a bandit.

  14. Observer,

    There is no inconsistency between saying that Phil is doing a good job and then voting against a huge pay increase.

    Cotton was being paid $170,000k a year TO DO A GOOD JOB. If he wasn't doing a good job they should give him the boot.

    Cotton would stay if they didn't give him the raise. He has make a lot of money and built a pretty nice pension that the taxpayer is going to have to support forever. Cotton has been a director but not a manager before and he might not be very marketable to other cities as a manager. As department head he was involved in the hall property and the public works yard. Cotton's best quality as a candidate is that the boyz were chums with Cotton; they could trust that cotton would watch out for them.

    Does anyone know if barth and houlihan were against any raise, or just the huge raise?

  15. They were not against a raise just not what was being promoted by Dumb and Dumber. They were willing to go up to the $175 -$180k range based on the size of of our city. There was also comment about a performance bonus in lieu of an increase. Maggie had to pull the 9% deferred salary issue out of the HR manager because Dumb and Dumber never addressed it. Dumber did say that he was really happy that Phil passed on a car allowance. What Teresa and Maggie objected to was a comparable salary list of 11 other city managers used by Dumb and Dumber to justify the number they came up with. Some of the cities on the list were not comparable to Encinitas. Of course Dumb and Dumber were offended when Teresa and Maggie questioned the comparison. Dumb and Dumber's hackles were raised and they both snarled at Teresa

  16. I don't think the car allowance gets put into the pension calculations. did dumb and dumber want to convert the car allowance into salary which would later be calculated into pension income?

  17. Bottom line is that Phil Cotton shouldn't have received ANY increase in salary. City residents are paying for overpriced and so-so management. If the only concern was the size of the increase his salary, what checks and balances do citizens have on stopping the flagrant abuse of power?
    Why do residents have to constantly say NO with no backup.

  18. Dumber made the comment about Phil to show what a swell guy he is. Also, be prepared for another raise request in six months when his yearly review comes up. Dumber made it clear that Phil can request that HR manager once again take a look at the median salary level. As for checks and balances there are none when it comes to a salary increase for the city manager. The three stooges have the advantage at this point. Perhaps, if more people showed up at the council meeting and berated the idiocy that these three perpetrate on the city it might make a difference. Change is the only way to make this happen and that means electing someone other than Dumb and Dumber in 2008.

  19. I wasn't there, at the meeting, but I think the raise is excessive. And the comparisons with other city's salary rates certainly seem off.

    This is more of the same. We are a class society, those contracted by or employed by the govt., and all the rest of us poor schmucks.

    Maggie and Teresa were right to vote no.


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