In a split vote, the Mission Viejo City Council approved a $166,440 annual contract for its Assistant City Manager Monday night.
Under the contract, Keith Rattay will also receive insurance, retirement benefits, $7,500 a year in deferred compensation and a monthly automobile allowance of $450, and possible severance pay.
Rattay has worked for the City of Mission Viejo since 1997.
Read his full contract, attached as a PDF file to the right of this article beneath the photos.
Officials have been working on the contract since September, and at times the Feb. 20 discussion became heated.
Leckness, who said he is "completely 100 percent OK with" the contract, said the terms of the agreement are necessary to keep Rattay with the city.
“When you have a great player, somebody great in sports, you want them on your team and you make a contract,” Leckness said. “I have said before we are in competition with other cities. I don’t want the competition to have a guy like Keith Rattay.”
On the other hand, Schlicht said that she felt the contract was an unnecessary expense for residents and that 14 nearby cities did not have contracts with their assistant city managers.
“It’s wrong,” Schlicht said. “There isn’t any compelling reason to put our taxpayers on the hook for this.”
She added that because the position is chosen by the city manager, they would be creating a contract for something that they didn’t have control over.
“There isn’t a compelling reason for this council to offer a contract that has all these additional benefits for a position we cannot hire or fire on.”
In a substitute motion, Reardon moved to lower the severance package from a maximum possible amount of nine months paid salary to six months.
“That to me is a compromise, and at least it’s something,” Reardon said. “It’s more generous than what the county executives are getting.”
Reardon’s motion to reduce the compensation was voted down 4-1, with Reardon voting in favor.
Kelley moved the contract as is, saying officials had “spent many, many hours” discussing it.
The motion passed 3-2.