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Carlsbad’s fire chief named interim city manager

CARLSBAD — Carlsbad Fire Chief Kevin Crawford has officially been selected as the interim city manager, while John Coates, who formerly held the position, remains on paid administrative leave through mid-March. 

Crawford has been serving as acting city manager since Coates resigned for undisclosed reasons on Nov. 1.

On Nov. 19, City Council unanimously voted Crawford to temporarily fill the position until a new manager has been hired. He will receive a 15 percent pay raise while serving in the position, raising his annual salary from $189,300 to $217,695, as well as a $350 monthly vehicle allowance.

City Council voted on Crawford’s appointment in a special public meeting held five minutes before Tuesday evening’s regular council meeting. The city published notice about the special meeting days after publishing the council’s regular agenda, sometime before the meeting.

Former City Manager John Coates will remain on administrative leave, maintaining his $220,500 annual salary and benefits, through March 12, 2014, according to his separation agreement with the city.

After that date, Coates will receive payment of about $55,000 as severance.

The separation agreement states that the city and Coates are working on settling all disputes arising from his resignation, but did not specify what claims or disputes may have arisen.

Under the agreement, Coates may not file any complaints, charges, or lawsuits against the city unless it is in regards to the fulfillment of his severance agreement.

The city is not prohibited from filing charges against Coates under the agreement.

At the Nov. 5 closed session meeting when Coates’ resignation was discussed, City Council also decided to enter into an unknown type of litigation, according to City Attorney Celia Brewer.

The items on the agenda for that closed session meeting consisted of a lawsuit filed against the city for damage done by a city utility truck, the appointment of Crawford as interim city manager, and the consideration of evaluating Brewer as city attorney.

Brewer declined to specify what the litigation involved or if it resulted from Coates’ leave.


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