Elk Grove City Manager Laura Gill Reportedly Relieved of Duties

City manager Laura Gill fired by city council

May 7, 2018 |


Just short of marking her 10th year with the city, it was learned today that Laura Gill was reportedly released from her duties as the city manager of Elk Grove. Gill was hired in May 2008 and has been Elk Grove's longest-serving city manager.

Gill's last day on the job was on Friday, May 4. According to a source at city hall who asked not to be identified, the separation was forced which makes Gill's separation involuntary and therefore she is eligible for severance pay. The source also claims the decision to end Gill's employment was not unanimous and that city employees were informed of the action today.

In an unusual move by the city council, Gill was given a performance review during the April 11 and April 25 closed session meetings of the city council and another is scheduled for this Wednesday's closed session. Typically performance reviews do not jump meetings.

After the conclusion of the closed session on Wednesday, a formal announcement by Mayor Steve Ly is expected.

Gill came to Elk Grove after serving as the chief administrative officer for El Dorado County from March 2003 through June 2008. A native of North Carolina, before that she held a variety of roles with the city of Durham, North Carolina.

Just as Gill assumed the city manager position, Elk Grove started experiencing the effects of the credit collapse of 2008 and the accompanying Great Recession. One of the first casualties the city suffered was the halting of construction of the Elk Grove Promenade shopping center in July 2008 (see video below featuring Gill and then mayor Council Member Pat Hume).

Since then the shopping center has been re-branded as the Outlet Collection of Elk Grove but remains unfinished. Additionally, the recession caused thousands of residential foreclosures in the city, and residential construction came to an abrupt ending causing the loss of development fees.

Although the recession caused a decrease in revenues for the city, through a series of belt-tightening measures initiated under Gill, compared to other nearby municipalities, financially Elk Grove came through the recession relatively unscathed. The recession did result in the several years' delay of projects including the civic center facility and ongoing road maintenance, which continues to be a problem with multi-million dollar annual funding shortages.

Operating under a weak mayor system, the Elk Grove city manager is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the city with all employees direct reports, except the city clerk's office. The city manager executes policies and directions of the city council, but typically the city council relies on the city manager and staff for guidance.

Even though revenues have recovered and the city is experiencing a robust economy, Elk Grove has largely failed to attract new employers in spite of an expanding headcount in the city's economic development department. Additionally, even though Gill approved the hiring of Birmingham, Alabama-based retail consultant Retail Strategies last year without city council approval to assist economic development director Darrell Doan to recruit retailers, the Outlet Mall continues to languish unfinished on the city's south side, and no high-end retailers have located to Elk Grove as was promised.

In June 2014 Gill, with the support of Hume, suggested the city abandon plans initiated by former mayor Gary Davis seeking to build a soccer facility that could have included a $100-million soccer stadium on a 99-acre parcel the city purchased outside city limits. Even though Gill suggested the plans be scuttled, Davis, along with current Council Member Steve Detrick and Jim Cooper, who now serves in the California Assembly, pushed back and the plans were untouched but reamin unfulfilled. (see video below).

With Gill's departure, assistant city manager Jason Behrmann is expected to act as interim city manager. There have been no announcements regarding how the city manager position will be filled.

Because Gill was terminated, she is eligible for severance pay. According to the website Transparent California, Gill's most recent reported salary was listed as $256,768 with other earnings of $21,940 and benefits valued at $75,163 for a total compensation of $353,871.

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D.J. Blutarsky said...

Never once did I hear the City Council ever publicly ask her for her professional opinion on a matter, or any other staff for that matter. I'm sure glad our elected city experts know how to run a city, because they'll play hell trying to find a replacement manager who is anything but a yes-man/woman.

Eye on Elk Grove said...

Well, Laura Gill must be laughing all the way to the bank! Of course, after 10 years, which is a lifetime tenure for city managers where the shelf life is only five years, most likely saw the writing on the wall.

So, what do I think Gill did? She wasn’t going to quit and give up that lucrative severance package. Laura Gill is too smart for that; played them at their own game and won!

It is reported in the EGN article that Gill's leaving wasn’t a unanimous decision. This tells me it was the gang of four, Steve Detrick, Pat Hume, Stephanie Nguyen and Darren Suen, who are interchangeable, most likely led my Hume, forced Gill’s resignation with no choice but to agree to the terms of her contractual severance package, which by the way, they established.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out when we hear the words, not unanimous, it is the gang of four against Steve Ly.

So this means, as we saw with former City Attorney Susan Burns Cochran, and her sweet severance package after a very short tenure, if I did the math correctly, the taxpayers will be paying out upwards to $400,000 to Gill. Nice fiscal management Detrick, Hume, Nguyen and Suen!

And what’s worse, the Elk Grove City Council will now try to sell the taxpayers some song and dance about how the city of Elk Grove needs a city manager who will take us into the future, do a nationwide search, spending what another $100K, then turn around and promote Asst. City Manager Jason Behrmann telling the taxpayers that the right person for the job was right under their noses all along. What a crock!

In the end, it looks like the gang of four was punk’d by Gill, and unfortunately, it will be the taxpayers who will, once again, suffer the financial consequences of their actions!

D.J. Blutarsky said...

EG Voter says: "Well, Laura Gill must be laughing all the way to the bank!"

That is one long line at the bank of course! Everyone knows an easy mark when they see one.

The consultant who walked away with about $750,000 for the aquatic center feasibility study leads the pack.

Oh, and what about Zaha Hadid (R.I.P.) who walked away with about a million bucks for the stillborn civic center design so we could be like Redding!

Oh, and then there is the millions they threw away for an MLS soccer field that grows very expensive hay today.

Oh, and real soon all the talk will be about the Amgen Tour of California bike race where we are putting everyone up in hotel rooms for several days and giving free catered meals.

Oh, and Greece ought to adopt our city as a Greek province, given all the financial incentives we have given to this certain Greek developer.

Yes, Gill may be laughing all the way to the bank, but she's small potatoes compared to the others. Maybe she can use the drive-thru teller for our "smaller customers"!

Neo Elk Grove said...

To paraphrase President Ronald Reagan, we could say the Elk Grove City Council spend like drunken sailors, but that would be unfair to drunken sailors, because the sailors are spending their own money.

Eye on Elk Grove said...

D.J., you are so correct. The Elk Grove City Council touts that they are such sound fiscal managers of the people's money. Really? What you have touched on here is just the tip of the money-wasted iceberg that is melting more and more with every bad financial decision they make and it is a slap in the face of every taxpayer.

Look for cuts in services and/or increases next fiscal year because of this council's financial malfeasance. When it hits home, or in their wallets, maybe then the apathetic Elk Grove voter will finally wake up and make their outrage known at the ballot box.

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