Santa Clara Hires New City Manager Jovan Grogan from San Bruno for a $405,000 Annual Salary

By Robert Haugh

The Santa Clara City Council majority made it official. 

They hired a new City Manager Jovan D. Grogan. His base annual salary will be $405,000, not including benefits. There was no information provided about his benefits cost to the City.

Grogan is currently the City Manager in San Bruno where he was appointed in 2018. 

San Bruno is a Peninsula town of 44,000, one third the population of Santa Clara.  

San Bruno’s budget is approximately $50 million annually.  Santa Clara’s budget is over $1.3 billion.  

Prior to San Bruno, Grogan served in assistant positions in Berkeley and Concord. 

According to Transparent California, Grogan’s salary in San Bruno was $243,000. The City Council majority gave him a pay raise of $160,000 in annual salary.

That’s similar to the big bump they gave the new City Attorney Glenn Googins when they hired him last month.

As City Attorney, Googins will be paid a $345,000 annual salary in Santa Clara. 

That’s a considerable raise for him. Googins earned $231,000 in salary in Chula Vista, another smaller city.

Last night the vote was 4-1 to appoint Grogan as City Manager. Councilmembers Raj Chahal, Karen Hardy, Suds Jain, and Kevin Park voted yes.

Councilmember Anthony Becker voted no. Becker said it was “just business” and Grogan’s salary was too high.

But Becker flip flopped on high salaries last month. At first, he supported Googins’ salary, then he voted against it when it came back to the Council for administrative action.

Two Councilmembers were absent from the meeting last night.

City Staff announced at the beginning of the meeting that Mayor Lisa Gillmor had recent hip surgery. Councilmember Kathy Watanabe had a medical emergency yesterday.

Last month, both Gillmor and Watanabe opposed the hiring of the City Attorney citing high salary costs and objecting to the 49er Five’s firing of former City Attorney Brian Doyle without cause.

Jovan D. Grogan


  1. Good luck Santa Clara. He obviously used San Bruno as a stepping stone. I am a SB resident and nothing gets done here. He recently hired an “assistant city manager” to “move things along”. Nothing has moved along. This year is 50 years since my street was paved, he quoted me five more years last year then changed it to “within 2 years”. Yeah right. I hope we get someone better next.


    This would have been a much better choice for our new City Manager. Instead he was hired as a city manager Milpitas for about. $330,000 a year, including benefits. A headhunter likely contacted him about the open City Manager position in Santa Clara which he likely turned down with our dysfunctional majority council voting majority who are incompetent.

    Our new City Manager is instead coming from a small city. With his new job, he will have a salary of $405,000 a year, plus another $75-100k in perks and benefits.

    In other words our new city manager will be making about $180,000 more than the San Jose City Official who was hired as a city manager in Milpitas.

    Our reputation proceeded us as for $500,000 seems like it would have opened up a pool of more qualified candidates coming from a bigger cities with bigger budgets and bigger problems. I wish Mr Grogan the best and hope he is great for our city, but does he know how bad the situation really is?

    • hopefully he has watched dysfunctional meetings. Tuesday without the mayor was a big sham but really showed 49er 5 for who they really are. Good luck, new CM and CA. You’re getting hazard pay.

    • Observation,

      “In other words our new city manager will be making about $180,000 more than the San Jose City Official who was hired as a city manager in Milpitas.”

      Cano was hired as the deputy city manager of Milpitas not the city manager.

  3. Dear 49er 5,
    Did you really have 35 candidates for the City Manager opening? I heard that you had an extremely hard time finding candidates because no one wants to work for you guys. Good Luck, Javon and Glenn. Hopefully, your brain can survive working with this group.

  4. Becker and Sudsy?

    If you perform like Steph Curry, you get paid like Steph Curry. Anthony you would not understand this.

  5. Santana was a little too qualified. And she saw right through Becker’s and Suds’ BS. And for that honesty and integrity – she got the axe. I hope the new CM is fundamentally stupid, otherwise he’ll have a short tenure in SC.

    BTW – Googins and Grogin – this will be really confusing for poor Becker.

  6. The true salaries of the new city attorney and city manager don’t include the large court settlements the city will pay after the former city manager and former city attorney are awarded court settlements due to the collective idiocy of the 49er 5 and the immense cost to the taxpayers of temporarily hiring an incompetent law firm that was obviously beholden to the same group. This also doesn’t includes include the immense cost and time that city staff were forced to use in this unnecessary quest to fire and hire, as well as paying a big cost to a headhunter firm to find candidates for city manager and city attorney. True incompetencey by the 49er
    synchophants wasting our tax dollars.

  7. Compared to previous city managers, a base salary of $405,000 sounds like a bargain. According to Transparent California, Santana’s 2020 base salary was $460,529 and $448,492 in 2021.

    Pretty sure population comparisons are not a method to justify salary, but to entertain this part of the conversation – Grogan’s 2021 base salary in San Bruno works out to $5.54/yr per resident. In Santa Clara, Santana’s 2021 annual base salary was $3.51 per resident, Grogan’s proposed $405k base salary will cost $3.17 per resident.

    The city council in power when Santana was hired justified her large increase in base salary due to additional responsibilities in Santa Clara that Sunnyvale didn’t have, such as a convention center, professional sports team, and its own power company. Incoming City Manager Grogan will assume those same responsibilities that San Bruno doesn’t have.

    • Santana had prior experience as city manager of Sunnyvale and Oakland that made her seem more qualified and worth a higher salary for Santa Clara.

      I hope Grogan is up to the job and does so well that he is rightfully awarded raises. I wonder if we could have gotten better or could have hired him for less but I hope that he puts all doubt to rest.

  8. I hope you write about all the other 💩 that went down last night.

    Glad city has leadership but how to reign in council majority?

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