Council bids Tom Haglund farewell

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Ed Tewes, who retired in 2013 as Morgan Hill's city manager, was appointed in closed session by the Gilroy City Council Sept. 28 to serve as the city's interim city administrator.

GILROY—The Gilroy City Council said its formal goodbyes on Monday to City Administrator Tom Haglund, who has led the city since 2008.
At his last council meeting as Gilroy’s top executive, Haglund said in a speech that his seven-year tenure was one of the richest professional experiences of his career. Many times, he said, it was also the most difficult.
Hired when the city was facing a $4 million budget deficit, Haglund took the reins at a tumultuous time, Mayor Don Gage recalled. That deficit swelled to $13 million within a week of Haglund accepting the job. In order to balance the budget, approximately 50 employees were laid off and additional positions were cut.
The council relied on his leadership during that time and throughout Gilroy’s gradual economic recovery, councilmembers remarked as they lauded his analytical thinking, practical sense and head for numbers.
“You did one hell of a job,” Councilman Perry Woodward said, recalling when Haglund first approached the council with concerns over the coming economic downturn in 2008. He said if the council didn’t anticipate the recession and make moves to keep the city sound, Gilroy “would be in big trouble.”
“That was Tom’s vision—he saw that—and we made the changes we had to make,” Woodward said. “It had to be incredibly painful for a new city administrator but we did it. What you did then has allowed us to be what we are today. This entire community, owes a very deep debt of gratitude for that.”
Gilroy has since recovered from the recession. Still, many on the council said Haglund’s leadership in better times was just as effective.
Gage presented Haglund with a proclamation from the city recognizing him for his service.
Addressing the council, city staff and the community after the brief ceremony, Haglund said he was grateful for the opportunity to serve at the city’s helm.
“It has been a privilege for me to have been city administrator here. I will take cherished memories with me to the end of my days, and I thank you for that opportunity,” Haglund said, which elicited a standing ovation in council chambers.
Within two hours of his speech, the council approved an $18,000-per-month contract for Haglund’s temporary replacement and authorized spending up to $26,000 on a Roseville-based recruiting firm that will identify top candidates for the job.
The council voted 5-1, with Councilman Dion Bracco absent and Councilman Roland Velasco opposing, to approve an interim employment agreement with Ed Tewes, who retired as Morgan Hill’s city manager after a 13-year tenure in March 2013. Tewes will lead Gilroy as interim city administrator for five to six months beginning Oct. 19, according to the agreement.
Tewes will assist with day-to-day management of the city and its internal operations, as is typical when a city administrator departs, Haglund said.
As part of Tewes’ compensation package, he will be reimbursed for expenses incurred and related to his position, including the use of his personal vehicle for city business.
Velasco explained that his no vote was based on the proposed compensation for Tewes.
“I don’t know what the right answer is, but $18,000 a month feels like a little too much,” Velasco said. Tewes’ monthly salary will be approximately $900 less than Haglund’s is currently.
As part of the contract, however, Tewes will not receive any medical or retirement benefits because he currently collects retirement income via CalPERS, associated with his 2013 retirement as Morgan Hill’s city manager. Public sector retirees in California can only work a maximum of 960 hours in a given fiscal year while collecting retirement, according to Haglund.
The council voted unanimously to spend up to $26,000 on the services of Roseville recruiting firm Peckham & McKenney, Inc., to find and interview candidates.
Over the last five years, Peckham & McKenney has placed 32 city managers in many western states and in California cities including Santa Clara, Tracy, Palmdale and Arroyo Grande. It is the same recruiter that found Haglund for the job back in 2007, according to Woodward.
“It is our understanding that the city is interested in a full recruitment and outreach process leading to the successful placement of a quality candidate that fits the organization and the community. We are fully prepared to team with the mayor and city council in order to ensure this outcome,” said Bobbi Peckham, president of the firm.
Within two weeks of Haglund’s last day on the job, Oct. 16, Peckham will come to Gilroy for individual meetings with each councilmember to inform her firm’s selection of ideal candidates and a separate meeting with the city’s managerial employees. Those meetings are tentatively scheduled for Oct. 26 and will help the firm develop a profile of an ideal candidate, according to city human resources director LeeAnn McPhillips.
That same evening, Peckham will facilitate a community meeting for citizens to chime in on the selection of Gilroy’s next city administrator, McPhillips said. She anticipates the job opening will be posted between mid-November and Dec. 21.

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