City Council Ready To Fire Out Of Control City Manager Takata ?
3/20/14 – As previously reported, City Manager Andrew Takata resigned on January 14, 2014, pending an agreement with the City for his remaining pay. Takata has since been on leave, but continues to receive his full salary of over $ 20,000 per month – plus benefits.
Recent developments appear to give grounds for speculation that Takata’s departure may no longer be uncontested nor amicable : three recent consecutive closed session agendas (view) have called for a discussion of “Public Employee Discipline/Dismissal : Position of City Manager”, so far without any reportable action being taken. The same item appears – now for the fourth time – on the upcoming closed session agenda for March 25, 2014 (view).
This begs the question : is the City Council getting ready to terminate Andrew Takata for “cause’ ?
TERMINATION FOR “CAUSE” ?
If the answer to the above question is “yes”, this would mean that the City Council could deny Takata almost $ 280,000 in “severance pay’, that otherwise would have been due under the outlandish provisions of Takata’s employment contract.
In 2010, Takata’s obscene contract was negotiated and approved by previous 2010 Council members Debbie Franklin, Don Robinson, Barbara Hanna, Bob Botts and the late John Machisic.
The Banning Informer has long criticized Takata for his dismal record as Banning’s City manager (see articles here and here) and has called for his removal. In plain sight and for everyone to see, this useless parasite has already collected roughly one million dollars during his 4 years in Banning, while systematically running the City into the ground (see story). Should he now receive yet another $ ¼ million in “severance” ?
After these articles were published in late 2013, two additional incidents of potential malfeasance have since come to light. Either one of those incidents, taken by itself, may be sufficient to terminate Takata for “cause”.
TAKATA’S UNAUTHORIZED LETTER TO “PASEO SAN GORGONIO” DEVELOPER PEARLMAN
About 6 weeks ago, Council member Don Peterson alerted the public of the fact that the Riverside County Probation Department would not only quadruple in size, but locate in Banning’s finest retail development, “Village at Paseo San Gorgonio” (see story). So far, the City of Banning has subsidized the development, located on the former San Gorgonio Inn property, with $ 4,000,000 in taxpayer funds.
When its developer, Art Pearlman, appeared before the Council to give a project update on February 11, 2014, he was questioned by Council member Ed Miller. Miller – clearly unhappy with the proposed Probation Department lease – wanted to know what authorized Pearlman to switch from a contractually agreed upon hotel development to an office building.
Here is the exchange :
Art Pearlman released a bombshell. He stated that he received a letter from City Manager Takata authorizing him to make the change from hotel to office building.
At the time Pearlman made this statement ( Feb. 11) , neither the City Council, nor the public had any idea that Andrew Takata had indeed issued a letter that had the potential – all by itself – to forever change the entire future of Banning’s downtown.
It turned out, Pearlman was telling the truth. The letter Takata sent him is dated November 25, 2013 and can be found here. It was followed up by an – equally unauthorized – letter of approval by Community Development Director Zai Abu Bakar. City attorney Dave Aleshire is said to not have been aware of either one of these letters. Neither was anyone on the Council, from what we understand.
Ultimately, Takata’s unauthorized actions were so upsetting to Council member Jerry Westholder that he decided to let the public know how he felt about the dilemma created by Andrew Takata (see Westholder’s letter to Banning’s citizens of 2/22).
There can be little doubt that Andy Takata vastly overstepped his authority when he gave Pearlman the green light. The contract (see relevant portion) clearly called for a hotel to be built. Any changes to this contract had to be approved by the Council, yet Takata did not bother to do so.
We need to keep in mind that this issue was discovered AFTER Takata had formally resigned. Hopefully it will cause the Council to reconsider Takata’s legacy by terminating him for “cause” – without paying him severance.
TAKATA SOLICITS EMPLOYMENT WITH TEMPLE CITY
After Andrew Takata resigned as City manager in Banning on January 14, 2014, he remained on Banning’s payroll, costing the taxpayer approximately $ 1,000 each and every day.
The Banning Informer has learned that Andrew Takata apparently negotiated a detailed “Employment Agreement” with Temple City, CA. Under the agreement Takata was to be paid $ 91.35 per hour and was set to start his job on March 1, 2014, (view contract).
The agreement was published as an attachment to the February 18 Temple City Council agenda.
However, someone in Temple City must have gotten smart about Takata. Without explanation, the Takata contract was pulled from the agenda by Temple City’s Mayor ( see minutes – item 9D – pg.4). Did Temple City officials read about Takata in the Banning Informer ?
Was Andrew Takata entitled to solicit employment with Temple City while he was still employed by Banning, making $ 1,000 per day ? This depends on whether or not Takata negotiated his contract during normal business hours, during which he normally would have been working in Banning.
It is hard to conceive that Takata’s Temple City employment was proposed without an interview. Furthermore, the highly detailed, 8 page document suggests that it is a result of extensive negotiations between Takata and Temple City. How could Takata have negotiated this document outside of normal business hours ?
If the document was negotiated during normal business hours, Takata could have violated his employment agreement with Banning and be subject to immediate termination for “cause”.
The above goes to show that the City Council is dealing with a “real piece of work” in former City manager Andrew Takata. “Discipline/Dismissal” – as announced on the agenda 4 times in a row – seems like the right choice for the Council. Hopefully they won’t pay this appalling parasite even one more dime !
If you would like to comment or discuss this – or any other – article, please visit us on FACEBOOK