By Robert Haugh
The Santa Clara City Council held another late meeting last night.
The Council voted 5-2 to appoint Rajeev Batra as Interim City Manager. He starts today.
He will be paid approximately $445,000 annually to work only 960 hours in a fiscal year as a “retired annuitant.” However, he cannot work more than 160 hours per month. Sources tell us that past City Managers were averaging over 60 hours a week. Wow.
The attorney advising the City Council, Gary Baum, says Batra assures that can do the job in a 40-hour workweek. Yesterday’s meeting was about eight hours. That means Batra will work less than full-time during weeks with Council meetings. Ouch.
Santa Clara now has a part-time City Manager after the 49er Five fired former City Manager Deanna Santana.
Mayor Lisa Gillmor and Councilwoman Kathy Watanabe voted against the appointment.
Gilmor said her issue was that no one else was included on the “short-list” of candidates. Only Batra was interviewed by the full Council.
Watanabe had “serious reservations” about the process.
The Council also approved a contract with Bob Murray Associates for a not-to-exceed amount of $45,000 for executive recruiting services for the City Manager position. The search will be nationwide. We ponder who in their right mind would want to even apply for the job. Watanabe opposed this item.
The Council approved a $300,000 contract with Lozano Smith LLP to serve as “interim City Attorney.” Yes, a law firm will represent the City. Apparently, no one wants the job.
- During public presentation, over two dozen people spoke in support of reopening the Santa Clara PAL BMX track. The track was closed recently. This topic will be on the April 19 Council agenda.
- It was announced by the Chief Emergency Services Officer Lisa Schoenthal that the April 19 Council meeting will return to an in-person hybrid format.