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Differing 'Philosophy' Cited in Dismissal of Temecula City Manager, CFO

Temecula 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.

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.

TVOR November 20, 2012 at 04:58 PM
I interpret this to mean he was stubborn and wanted to do things his way as opposed to how the council wanted them to be done. He should not have difficulty finding other work.
wolfcreek November 20, 2012 at 05:04 PM
The longer you take to tell the public what is going on the more it looks like cover up time. TRANSPARENCY please.
CSP November 20, 2012 at 05:39 PM
You want "tranparancy"? Or you need some wild story to spice up your life? I there is no criminal actions involved then respect the privacy of there 2 individuals so they can get on with a much needed job search. To imply a "coverup is ridiculous. A coverup of wrong doing, when found out would cause an implosion of City Council and our city leaders. The present city council is in place because a majority of Temecula voters trusted them to do the job. Nothing had happened to change that trust. Food for thought!!
GD November 20, 2012 at 06:03 PM
As stated before in other threads, there are considerations of privacy and the possibility of lawsuits. I'd rather they take their time and not expose the city to the potential of a lawsuit. If there was criminal wrongdoing involved in this, those charges will be made public by the District Attorney. If your boss fired you in a private industry because you simply were a bad fit for the company, he CANNOT say that to your next prospective employer when called for a reference. If he did you could sue him. Same principle applies here. There's a council meeting tonight. Let's see what happens then.
GD November 20, 2012 at 06:06 PM
There are whistleblower laws here in California for that. If they're going to expose corruption, now is the time to do it.
Chris Gumtz Wayt Crawford November 20, 2012 at 06:07 PM
I admire the City Council for listening to other employees and seeing that one person's style of management can severely affect the organization as a whole. I am glad that they did address this promptly and I am sure that many employees are relieved. The pressure of working under controlling management is too much for anyone to handle in this day and age. Everyone needs to remember the "Golden Rule"
Darlana November 20, 2012 at 06:33 PM
After 20 years of great accounting service Genie is now supposed to be so horrible to work with? Genie has done everything this city council has asked of her and now she is a management monster? Genie has won awards for service and now she is being accused of a harsh working environment? Genie is a sweet and honest lady and she deserves better treatment from this city and the city council.
Fauntleroy Murphy November 20, 2012 at 06:59 PM
I believe you are correct. Bob Johnson is an extremely ethical man. Bob has a lifetime of experience beyond that our the City Council, he would never do anything to sully his reputation. The Temecula City Council is use to operating on the fence between legality and criminal action. They don't cross the line, just walk on the line. Their actions however for many people could be viewed as unethical, legal however.
Brenda November 20, 2012 at 08:36 PM
I agree GD. Legally they cannot release any reason why a employee was terminated, just that they were, and are or are not eligible for rehire, last date worked. Just simple stuff. I wonder about this though, that they City agree with "THEIR" attorneys to state a certain reason. Its a safe reason thats for sure, but still wonder why they waited until now to do the terminations. IF a new council had won the chairs then they would have had to deal with it? Hjmmmmm.... "“At the request of their legal counsel, I will confirm that these actions were based on differences in management philosophy and goals."
Eric Cartman November 20, 2012 at 08:54 PM
Genie also produced two different budgets during the election. One with a deficit to the challengers and one with a surplus to the press. Smells like corruption.
GD November 20, 2012 at 09:03 PM
Eric, do you have proof of those two budgets?
GD November 20, 2012 at 09:06 PM
To be honest, until the story quoting the union boss, I didn't know city employees *were* represented by a union! Police and fire, sure.. but those services are actually from the county via contract agreements. I agree that something doesn't sound right. But I don't expect answers this second. I expect thorough investigation and for things to be done correctly. I would hate for any criminal wrongdoing to go unpunished because information was improperly released in the name of "transparency."
TVOR November 20, 2012 at 09:38 PM
Yeah, seriously. That would be an illegal act.
Long Time Temecula Resident November 21, 2012 at 12:54 AM
poor eric cart man . once gain resorts to lies. pitiful.
5150 November 21, 2012 at 01:03 AM
They must have learned this BS from our fearful leader in the Whit House, big scam and cover up, evevtually the truth will come out and heads will roll.
5150 November 21, 2012 at 01:07 AM
Temecula city council members are clowns, you Jackasses that voted for them, well, you will get what you deserve
gordon November 21, 2012 at 03:45 AM
this city council mirrors the office of the president when it comes to transparency. nothing truthful is revealed until the president is reelected. well our two councilmen were reelected and some strange things start happening. how can the finance person work with everybody for ten years and is suddenly gone because she is hostile. how can a new manager who was vetted 8 months before suddenly be hostile and is gone. i smell a rat, and this one is going to cost we the taxpayers a pretty penny in an out of court settlement. the manager and finance director will not only get a pretty severence package, but there will be a lot more money in the deal to seal their lips about what is really happening. i just wish we had some reporters who could do some digging. my thoughts: it has something to do with the Pechanga-Granite settlement. you dont let a newly hired city manager and a tenured financial official go because of a union's complaint. something bad is a cooking. too bad the dismissed parties will never tell about it, unless subpoened.
Long Time Temecula Resident November 21, 2012 at 06:04 AM
if Temecula is corrupt then every city every where is corrupt
Darlana November 21, 2012 at 10:22 PM
Interesting article from the past. Bob and Genie both put together the budget and budget numbers. They even included the "Quality of Life" plan. The article goes on to state: "The budget is the first assembled by the finance department and City Manager Bob Johnson, who took over at the start of the year. The budget team used input from the council and the city's quality of life master plan as a blueprint, aligning proposed expenditures with the goals of the plan". So, Bob and Genie who are both really nice people did everything that was asked of them and then they are treated like bums by the city council? Now we are hearing that they are being "paid off" to go away. I personally know Genie and she is a wonderful person. Not a mean bone in her body. It seems like Genie is being kicked to the curb after giving the city everything they asked of her. http://www.nctimes.com/news/local/temecula/article_49f243a4-6994-5058-946c-5a534cbdd2b0.html
popeye November 22, 2012 at 05:27 AM
He is mad the Tea Baggers lost....
wolfcreek November 25, 2012 at 04:59 AM
Yes we get what we deserve. We will get a better City Manager and Temecula will continue to be a great City.
wolfcreek November 25, 2012 at 05:02 AM
Again, we the people who support the City by paying taxes (salaries, benefits, etc.) need to know what is going on. It is really not that hard, tell us the truth.
Lash LaRue November 25, 2012 at 02:59 PM
A large number of Temecula city employees belong to Teamsters Local 911 That is the problem. Get rid of the unions. If you are a small business owner ask your customers if they are in a union as you have a special deal for union members. When they show you there card point to the "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone" and tell them to leave..
5150 November 25, 2012 at 03:44 PM
They tell you what they feel like telling you

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