Layoffs looming at city hall

The Morgan Hill City Council this week unanimously approved new employment agreements with City Manager Christina Turner and City Attorney Don Larkin.

The new contracts forego previously agreed-upon cost-of-living salary increases for 2020-21, and reduce the interest rates on home loans owed by Turner and Larkin to the city. The new agreements also change Turner’s and Larkin’s deferred compensation rates from a fixed percentage to the federal limit, and suspend a cap on leave accruals.

The new agreements, which were approved at the Aug. 5 online council meeting, do not include salary increases for City Hall’s two highest paid employees, but will cost the city about $26,000. City Councilmember Larry Carr said the “vast majority” of that cost is from lowering the interest rate on existing home loans for Turner and Larkin.

Turner’s salary for 2020-21 is about $246,371, according to the contract approved Aug. 5. Larkin’s salary is about $244,940.

The interest rates for both loans are .94 percent in the new contracts. The rate is based on the 10-year treasury rate of .69 as of July 1, plus .25 percent, the contract states. 

The council approved the home loans of up to $1.3 million for Turner and Larkin shortly after they were initially hired to their current positions. Turner has served as Morgan Hill City Manager since 2017, and Larkin has been City Attorney since 2016.

In Morgan Hill, the city manager and city attorney are the only two City Hall employees hired directly by the five-member elected council. 

The approval of their “second employment agreements” on Aug. 5 followed favorable performance evaluations by the council, Mayor Rich Constantine said.

“The work of both our city manager and city attorney has been exemplary,” Constantine said. “I’m thankful every day that we have two steady hands at the helm…at this really horrendous time.”

Turner, Larkin and other management staff at City Hall earlier this year agreed to give up annual cost-of-living salary increases due to the Covid-19 pandemic and its financial impact.

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Michael Moore is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor for the Morgan Hill Times, Hollister Free Lance and Gilroy Dispatch since 2008. During that time, he has covered crime, breaking news, local government, education, entertainment and more.


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