Mayor Bailey Takes Legal Action to Protect the Mayor’s Veto Authority as to Council’s Approval of City Manager’s Contract

March 13, 2018Phone: (916) 539-0455

Mayor Bailey Takes Legal Action to Protect the Mayor’s Veto Authority as to Council’s Approval of City Manager’s Contract

Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey is protecting Riverside taxpayers by requesting that a Superior Court Judge uphold his veto of the excessive contract extension given to City Manager John Russo last month.

“In five years as Mayor I have not vetoed a single action by the City Council,” said Bailey.  “This action is so bad for the taxpayers of Riverside that I must stand against this action and will keep fighting this at every turn.”

Bailey’s attempts to have an override vote scheduled have been unsuccessful as the City Attorney instructed the City Council that Bailey had no veto authority in the first place.  Thus, in a petition filed with the Riverside Superior Court on Friday, Bailey requests the court to order the City Council to schedule a timely override vote (on or before April 7, 2018), to stop the contract from being administered in the meantime, to disqualify the City Attorney who has a conflict of interest on this matter, and to declare the contract void from its inception if the City Council fails to timely override the veto.   A successful override would be a 5-2 vote, the same vote that approved the City Manager’s contract.

The new contract for the City Manager that was approved by a split vote of the City Council includes an employment extension to seven (7) more years with increased compensation, increased vacation and administrative leave, a $700,000 life insurance policy, a $675,000 mortgage at an interest rate well below the market rate, and one year’s salary for severance pay if terminated.  Mayor Bailey believes that the terms are excessive and unnecessary to retain quality City management.

Read the petition here.

The petition asserts that the Riverside City Charter clearly establishes a City government with checks and balances similar to that of the Constitution.  While Sections 600 and 700 of the City Charter provide that the City Manager, the City Attorney and the City Clerk serve at the pleasure of the City Council, section 413 of the Charter and Resolution 23035 provide that the Mayor may veto “any formal action taken by vote of the City Council” unless specific exceptions that are not present here exist.    Therefore, the Office of the Mayor may veto a City Council vote approving matters concerning the City Manager, City Attorney and the City Clerk.  Consequently, the petition also seeks to have the City Attorney disqualified from advising the City Council on the veto issue because the City Attorney stands to receive a benefit if the Office of the Mayor cannot have a voice with regard to his position.

Mayor Bailey believes his oath of office prevents him from standing by and allowing the veto authority of the Mayor’s Office to be attacked, especially with regard to the approval of this oppressive contract with the City Manager.

Read the Riverside City Charter here.

The Riverside law firm of Thompson & Colegate LLP prepared the legal documents requesting this action.

Bailey is not using any public funds in this process. He has been accepting donations and will disclose all of the contributors.


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