The city of Susanville has a new city administrator — if the city council approves a contract with Chief of Police Kevin Jones as expected at its next regular meeting held at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 16 at the City Council Chambers, 66 N. Lassen St.
Jones has been serving as the city’s interim administrator since the departure of former city administrator Mike Wilson in May 2020.
“It’s been an interesting two-and-one-half days,” Jones told the lassennews.com just after his appointment in May. “The city had a need, and I’m willing to help. I have a little bit of experience. Over at the sheriff’s office we had five different divisions and 80 employees. There are some similarities, but it’s vastly different. I’m excited to look at this and help the city move forward,” Jones said of his new responsibilities.
“I’m near the end of my career — I made my 31-year mark in May. I’m excited to have an interesting change of scenery at this time in my career. It’s definitely going to be a challenge, and my number one goal is going to be to re-engage with the community as we’ve done with the police department … We’re going to do our best to win back the community’s support.”
According to the resolution to approve Jones’ Sept. 9 provisional appointment and an employment agreement negotiated by Jones and Margaret Long, city attorney, Jones will serve as both the chief of police and the city administrator. The contract will be effective Sept. 1, 2020. Jones will continue to receive his salary a chief of police and be paid an additional $442.96 per pay period for his services as city administrator.
According to employment agreement the city “desires to continue” Jones’ employment as city administrator; the city had “advertised for, interviewed and attempted to negotiate an agreement for a full time city administrator but was unsuccessful;” given the city’s financial projections “which appear to have a significant deficit and the desire to be prudent in light of the unknown future,” the city “desires to continue chief of police Jones as administrator for a period of time to allow for fiscal and strategic planning … ”
According to the agreement, Jones “desires to continue the additional assignment of city administrator with said city while maintaining his job of chief of police.”
The term of the contract is for one year, and it can be extended for an additional three years if both parties agree.
Jones will continue to receive his base salary as chief of police (Range 168, Step G of the management unit salary matrix and an additional 20 percent of his base pay as administrator.
While the city administrator position is consider at will and Jones may be terminated at any time “for any legal reason,” the city and the administrator may terminate this contract without cause with 30 days’ notice, and if the contract is terminated without case, Jones may return to his chief of police position.
According to the agreement, “The council, in consultation with the administrator, shall fix any such other terms and conditions of employment, as it may determine from time to time, relating to the performance of administrator, provided such terms and conditions are not inconsistent with or in conflict with the provisions of this agreement or state law.
City administrator hiring process
Back in May, Jones said the city would take a number of steps before hiring a new city administrator.
First, Jones said, the applicants will be vetted to see if they actually qualify for the job. Then the applicants will be ranked. Based on the ranking, the city will then decide which and how many applicants to interview.
The first interview will be a professional one with a panel developed by an ad hoc committee. Then the applicants would face a second interview by a board of selected community stakeholders.