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Oceanside city attorney receives $8,500 raise

OCEANSIDE — Oceanside City Attorney John Mullen received an $8,500 raise from City Council without fanfare on Sept. 10. His salary is now $229,870 annually and in parity with City Manager Steve Jepsen who was hired a year ago.

The city attorney and city manager are hired and awarded raises by the City Council.

Their salaries are linked together in a parity agreement that states they should receive equal compensation.

City staff explained that if either the city manager or city attorney has an increase or decrease in salary, the other’s salary usually mirrors the action upon City Council approval.

Jepsen was hired in November 2013 at a salary of $231,840 and a comfortable compensation package if he is let go.

His salary tops that of his predecessor Peter Weiss, who was paid $223,345 plus compensation, and who now serves as a city consultant.

Following Weiss’ resignation as city manager, Councilman Jack Feller suggested Jepsen, former Oceanside city manager and at that time Yuba City manager, be offered the position. City Council voted 3-2 to hire Jepsen without holding a national search for candidates.

The hiring process brought up some differences of opinion.

Last October, Feller voiced his support for Jepsen.

“He started an awful lot of good things here,” Feller said. “He knows the cost of things, and what’s necessary to make a coastal city thrive.”

At that time Mayor Jim Wood voiced concerns about the hiring process, and said he would have preferred to have gone through a formal search process to find a city manager the entire City Council agrees upon.

“It was kind of a done deal in the back room,” Wood said. “They didn’t want to go any further.”

Today City Council unanimously supports Jepsen and his performance since he returned to the position.

“I’m happy with him trying to do the right things,” Wood said.

Wood added Mullen does an admirable job and deserves the salary increase.

“The attorney has done very well and is deserving of it,” Wood said.

Mullen’s salary was last adjusted in 2010.

City staff said the attorney’s latest salary increase was overlooked at the time the city manager was hired.

“We neglected to look at the city attorney contract,” the staff member said.

Eighty hours of Mullen’s accrued vacation leave will be sold back to the city to cover this year’s salary increase, and neutralize part of the financial impact on the city budget.

His CalPERS costs will increase by $2,264, and be paid for by General Fund reserves for employee wages.

Councilman Gary Felien, who is often outspoken about PERS increases, said the attorney’s raise was a matter of procedure.

2 comments

OsidePride September 18, 2014 at 8:19 am

No offense to Mr. Mullen who does a terrific job, but Kern & Felien laid off 130+ City workers, closed pools, park programs, library hours, yet give double-dip “golden parachute” retirement deals to cronies while complaining about salaries/benefits for our first-responders. They’ve threatened to outsource even our ambulance services to a “for-profit” company, yet think nothing of re-hiring cronies so they can collect retirement PLUS “consulting fees!” They also recently gave raises that triggered the “me too” clause for other workers, while continuing to complain about CalPERS. Felien’s claims that “prior City reserves were down to Zero” and “he balanced the City budget” (that had always been balanced) are FALSE. They’re fighting “prevailing wages” for Oceanside workers even though that could mean loss of ALL State funding for Oceanside! DUMP KERN & FELIEN IN 2014. CORSO FOR COUNCIL!!!

OceansidePrideWrong September 22, 2014 at 1:30 pm

OceansidePride, I have to wonder where you get your information from. Again you seem to have things a bit construed and I would hope that if you comment on a news article you would at least do your homework. Everything you are referencing are at least 2-1 years ago and not current to our environment today. Of course someone like you who is emotionally charged, obviously can’t see the facts if it hit you in the face.

1. The ambulance service you are referencing was an idea to try and lower costs for the citizens of Oceanside. It never happened. Do you know how much an ambulance ride costs? Lets just say its more than you know, since you obviously never did the research. We in the City have the highest wages in all of San Diego in regards to Police, Fire, and Ambulance. I would imagine you as a tax payer would like to save money.

2. Calpers is a boondoggle like the High Speed Rail. It is 100% run by unions in Sacramento and the board up there keeps raising costs and making it impossible for Cities to keep and pay their fair share. The system will collapse its just a matter of when.

3. San Bernandino, Vallejo, Fresno, Stockton, all didn’t plan accordingly to the recession and they are in bankruptcy or close to it. Be grateful that KERN and FELIEN actually did what they did so that you don’t live in a Bankrupt City. Do you even know what the repercussions are for a city when they have to do that? YOU WOULD HAVE NO EXTRA SERVICES! It would be impossible to get a loan or grants.

4. Yes let’s for Lowery since he lowered our credit rating, cost us millions regarding the Haymore sewer spill, and catered to the Unions with INCREASING salaries (which you’re complaining about here) Hypocrisy in you I sense.

I am so tired of you and the others that complain about these two particular men, when your comments are facts, they are emotional. Want to garner respect? Get the emotional crazy out of your comments. People might actually listen, but then again, your so closed minded you don’t know what I’m talking about.

Ciao!

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