Council selects G. Harold Duffy as new city manager
COMPTON—The search for a permanent city manager finally ended on Tuesday, June 12, as Compton City Council members appointed G. Harold Duffy, the current city administrator in Oroville, to the post.
Council members Janna Zurita, Willie Jones and Yvonne Arceneaux revealed their choice after a closed session. Mayor Eric J. Perrodin did not attend the meeting, and Councilwoman Lillie Dobson did not participate in the decision.
Duffy replaces interim City Manager Bryan Batiste, who stepped in after former interim City Manager Lamont Ewell resigned on Wednesday, Jan. 25.
Batiste said he is truly thankful for the opportunity the Council gave him.
“The community and staff offered love and support, which made this job easier,” he said. “I am very proud of the accomplishments and the budget process. This is a tremendous career boost and I look forward to going home to the fire department next month. ”
Duffy begins his tenure on July 23.
“I am excited about coming to Compton,” he said. “I have been watching the city for a while, and it has the infrastructure to move forward.”
Duffy has the proposed city budget and plans to have discussions with Batiste before his arrival.
“There is only one August meeting, so I can acclimate myself to the daily operations,” he said. “Some people say observing is better, but in this instance seeing how City Hall operates is more applicable.”
Duffy applauds the dedicated citizens in the Hub City, and feels the city can move forward with a professional city manager in place.
Council members approved a $205,000 base salary, and Duffy will be responsible for his 8 percent share of the Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS) benefits.
“I insisted on putting that in the contract,” he said. “Employees should pay their PERS benefit, and I will set the example.”
Employee paid PERS, he said, offers significant savings for the city.
“Duffy will receive a $650 per month auto allowance and $100 per month for his cell phone,” City Attorney Craig Cornwell said. “His vacation and personal time accrual rate will be 180 and 120 hours per year, respectively.”
Duffy will accrue 120 hours of sick leave per year.
The proposed Oroville budget for 2012-2013 currently shows a $1.2 million deficit, and he appreciates the fiscal challenges each city in California faces.
“When I began my employment in Oroville everyone talked about being broke,” Duffy said. “That attitude had to stop. No business wants to be part of an environment where there is no hope.”
His experiences as the number two man in many municipalities, he said, gave him valuable water, sewer and trash knowledge.
“I took over Sacramento’s solid waste division, and it had a $7 million deficit,” Duffy said. “When I left, the department generated $2 million annually to the general fund.”
Transparency, he said, will be the trademark of his management team.
“The Council has to have all the appropriate information to make the right choices,” Duffy said. “I do not shy away from any uncomfortable confrontation. If someone needs an answer and I do not have it, I will get it for them.”
An area of excitement, he said, is establishing the organization.
“As city manager, I can make certain appointments and build the team,” Duffy said. “This will be a great thing for the citizens.”
Council objectives, moving forward will determine what direction the city takes.
“I have no problem stabilizing the organization and giving my professional opinion on the city’s operational and fiscal future.” Duffy was a city manager candidate in 2009, and he said the Council during the current interview process seemed more cohesive.
“I do not play political games,” he said. “Sometimes emotion gets in the way of decisions, and if the train goes down the wrong track, I stay on the train and make sure it works for the community.” Published reports talk about new businesses opening in Oroville, and Duffy attributes much of the success to the aggressive marketing efforts of its former redevelopment properties.
“Oroville liquidated them as expeditiously as possible (allowed by Assembly Bill 26), and Compton needs to look at that,” Duffy said. “This is the right time to do development agreements.”
An 18-acre site on prime real estate is an example of success after AB26, he said, and the plan offered the land to a developer for $1 while agreeing to its assessed value, $1.1 million.
“Our agreement has a 36-month development window,” Duffy said. “The build-out value is $30 million. The city will share that tax revenue with other taxing agencies.”
Long suffering residents looking for infrastructure help will look to Duffy right away, and he said he stands ready for the challenge.
“People want to know what their service levels are,” he said. “The first question is whether the city has a pothole maintenance plan, and how long residents should wait for a response.”
Oroville has a mobile pothole application process, Duffy said, and residents can report issues and receive an estimated repair date.
“I will ask for an accurate timeframe to deal with the problem with current city resources,” he said. “If the director says there is a six-week wait and the Council feels that is not good enough, then I can tell them what I need to improve the response time.”
The goal coming in is giving employees what they need to do their jobs, Duffy said, but once they get the resources the job needs to get done.
The next City Council meeting is on Tuesday, June 26.