Elk Grove City Manager, Economic Development Director Criticized by Council and Public

March 28, 2014 | Although the City of Elk Grove's economic development efforts were not on the agenda, they came under scrutiny...

March 28, 2014 |

Although the City of Elk Grove's economic development efforts were not on the agenda, they came under scrutiny at Wednesday night's Elk Grove City Council meeting.

The criticism was leveled during the evening's last agenda item, a discussion of city's Southeast Policy Area.

See the video below.  

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Connie said...

Pat Hume made it known during the District 4 appointments that he was impressed by Jeff Owen. It appears that Pat is listening to Jeff because these comments were a first that I can recall.

Jeff is a breath of fresh air and a welcomed addition to the citizen side of the podium, very smart, and an excellent speaker.

And Nikki Carpenter, well got to love her!

Again a bit of history, it was Nikki who brought to light all of the problems with e-Tran and one of our former transit managers who left the city's employ in the dead of the night, leaving two million dollars of bills hidden in his desk.

So keep on coming to council meetings and knitting Nikki as we count on you!

Janice said...

A little too little and a little too late council. You have been told about the inadequacy and ineptness of Starbuck. Another one that needs to go.

Lynn said...

Thank you Dan for posting this article.
Thank you Jeff and Nikki for speaking up!
Jeff you asked for what I had asked for awhile back...thank you for articulating it much better than I ever could.
I encourage all residents to come and participate! Please attend a meeting, it matters!, especially around election time.
I continue to hold our leaders accountable to their policies and direction given to the staff. I remember one meeting in which council asked Starbuck why he did not attend a retail conference....and he was then guided to attend more....My personal opinion; I am sure HHC is great at finding tenants. Starbucks attention needs to be focused beyond retail. Our leaders have staff going in all different directions. Jeff did an excellent job giving some direction. He would be an great boss for our city staff!

Anonymous said...

ditto Lynn's comments. What a great asset Jeff Owen would be to this city.

Charlie Marlow said...

Yes, Mr. Owen seems to have a balanced approached to some of the issues facing the city. It would be good to have another choice in the Fourth District race.

Anonymous said...

Did the city manager say that "we had to know what the role of the EDC was before we prepared the report"?

How long has this EDC been around?

Wasn't the role defined at the time of formation of the EDC?

Anonymous said...

ms gill is awfully terse with the council

Anonymous said...

It was god to see the council, cowboy up, even a little bit, and ask for the economic development report be put on as an agenda item instead of hiding it in the consent calendar.

When Randy Starbuck does make his report, I wonder if he will include all the smoke shops spring up all over town as "economic development".

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


We had to find out what the role of the EDC is?

How long has this EDC been around? Since last week?

Should have remained part of the county.

Anonymous said...

Hey now, fellas. do not forget the Starbuck-Gill duo brought us the ice rink.

Lynn said...

Please...it was the direction of council to the staff that brought us the ice rink...staff was very clear about it not being a money maker....Let's see whose idea is it to make elk grove a destination city?
Hmmm city council will take the heat off of themselves regarding their policy decisions and blame someone else....I think things would operate much differently if council leaders were spending their own money.

Connie said...

Please let me add to this conversation about the skating rink because Laura Gill and Randy Starbuck did have a hand in this in that they went with one vendor to recommend to the city council when there was another one that was interested; but they were not contacted. I know this because I did my homework here after I read the staff report and felt that we citizens were going to take a big financial hit here.

I contacted other cities where ex-Elk Grove employees work because we have maintained contact and asked them because their cities had similar skating rinks in the past. I forwarded everything I found out to both of Gill and Starbuck, but it was ignored.

And it was Gill and Starbuck who had the responsibility to let the council know there were other options. Neither did; so this goes part and parcel of Gill spoon feeding the council information, and that is wrong.

If the Elk Grove City Council is to take the ultimate credit and/or blame for everything that goes both right and wrong with our city, then they need to have all the information provided to them so that when the condemnation is levied on them for projects that are a huge financial failure, it is rightly theirs to own.

I will add because I have been around awhile and do have some historical knowledge and I have emailed Randy Starbuck several times with history and some ideas – I have had a few in the past that have been passed by the council – and like what Mike Monasky said at the podium, Starbuck has yet to respond to one email, not one.

So like Jeff and Nikki, I am very interested to know what exactly Randy Starbuck is doing. And I don’t want to hear another “ALLDATA” report. Anyone remember that one?

Those of us who opposed the $750K investment in the EDEDC were right because now all these years later, Gill is now asking for direction. But that money is long gone!

Anonymous said...

Right on the mark connie. Not the only time information not shared. Southgate. Nigeria Emir.

Connie said...


Side Bar: Okay it is raining; so before I settle in for binge watching of House of Cards, I read today’s Bee and and an Op Ed caught my eye.

This post is dedicated to you as you have been on a crusade to get people back to council meetings and involved in the local government. It appears you not alone in that people need to “Get Involved and Stay Involved.” – That slogan in is quotes because it originated here in Elk Grove by Sarah Johnson. We may not be able to change the world, but we sure can affect what occurs in our little part of it.

In today’s Sacramento Bee, I read the following Op Ed. It is entitled: “To be a good citizen, care about the place you live.” Here is the link, but I wanted to post just one paragraph regarding the city of Bell. Many of us do what we do because we don’t want Elk Grove to become another Bell.


“Peterson offers the city of Bell as an example of what happens when people are disconnected from where they live – and how they might reengage. Bell, you’ll recall, was embroiled in a nasty corruption scandal a few years ago. In 2005, about 400 voters in a city of 36,000 opted to convert the south Los Angeles city from a “general law city” to a “charter city.” The change gave local officials more autonomy. It also let them rob the city blind. The former city manager, assistant city manager and five of six former City Council members were found guilty last year of conspiracy, corruption and misappropriation of funds.” [End of copy]

But it has gotten better in the city of Bell. How? Because of citizen involvement.

Lynn said...


I am not giving staff a pass on this as I said in an earlier article there is enough blame to go around on many of the fiscal decisions made. However, if Ms. Gill is spoon feeding the council, maybe she feels for some reason that she needs to spoon feed them only what they want. Connie remember we did have a city manager who was unwilling to spoon feed the council what they wanted and left. We are not privy to the council/staff briefings before the city council meetings, so do not know what is said. Council member Trigg has many times thanked the staff for their good work. Connie I am sorry that Gill and Starbuck have not responded to your emails or ideas. I most certainly hope that at the time you were contacting them that you made the information available directly to our city council.
I agree...I have spoke up about the economic reports we have received. I was not happy to have Sun Grove Church listed....non profit not a job creator. I wanted better documentation and stats.
Council member Scherman wanted our own economic development director. There was the push from council for this city position. I believe that there is more to the story and I just don't know as a resident if I there ever will be enough transparency within our city government to know both sides of the story. Anonymous 12:27...Nigeria was under presentation and when council began throwing their support at this it became an agenda item. I don't believe they needed Gill reminding them to simply state; thank you for the presentation. Our mayor acted as if this was the first time he had heard about Nigeria; he had known about this for some time. This past council meeting; again a presentation asking for city support...Council member Detrick suggested this should be agendized. How about it?....did the council miss something? Could our contracted city attorney review the agenda and if something under presentations appears to be requesting support, monies ect...from the city...it come back under agenda?
In the end all voting residents hold the responsibility of what happens in our city; we elect the leaders who hire the city manager...who hires staff.....So if votin residents are dissatisfied then voters must demonstrate this at the ballot as well as at city meetings.
On a side; I saw the Bee article and cut it out. So Thank you. I will continue to request, plead, and ask residents to attend meetings....then maybe someday we all can have both sides of the story. Again, I believe we are all need to be held accountable here.

Anonymous said...

I have to admit I did not know what an "Economic Development Director" did for an agency. I am a state employee, and no such position exists (at least at my agency). The job card for the position is posted to the city of Elk Grove human resources web site. Upon further review of the job specifications, I can see that this position is responsible for "developing a plan to include attraction and retention of businesses and other regional economic partners. "
I am fairly new to Elk Grove News. When was Mr. Starbuck hired? If over a year ago, why was this plan not developed.
I am shocked by the salary range for this position (129K to 161K).


Connie said...

We had a city employee held who the position of Economic Development Eirector and Sophia Scherman knew this very well; so why she kept saying we needed to hire one is beyond me.

His name was Reid Montgomery and he was a good one. But as with the good employees we have had, the ones who refuse to be sycophants aren’t long for our city.

Reid did his job and informed the community by putting out an economic development newsletter for all to read.

Here is just one of them:


Haseem said...

Randy Starbuck was hired in Sept.2011 and began work the following month, over two and a half years ago.

Incredibly and admittedly our city manager now states on the record that she's not clear on his role or the role of his department?

And we pay him $150,000 per yr?

I want to apply for this position right now. I have worked at a gas station and a feed store and I've been inside many office buildings.

Hell, let me apply for city manager. From what I read, she's totally inept and dishonest. At least I'm not that. I'll work hard and learn.

I'll be down at the city on Monday looking for applications. Wish me luck!

Connie said...

We had a city employee held who the position of Economic Development Director and Sophia Scherman knew this very well; so why she kept saying we needed to hire one is beyond me.

His name was Reid Montgomery and he was a good one. But as with other exceptional employees we have had, the ones who refuse to be sycophants, they aren't long for our city.

Reid did his job and informed the community by putting out an economic development newsletter for all to read.

Here is just one of them:


Connie said...

Sorry for the duplicate post. My computer locked up and then posted the comment twice after a Control Alt Delete!

Jeff O. said...

People who are operations people believe in certain management principles including measurement, oversight and communications. Until Mr. Starbuck is given clear direction, presents a clear plan of action and his results are measured and reported on then I will hold judgement on his performance. Obviously he and Mrs. Gill should listen better to community input and research.

Anonymous said...

this place is starting to sound like Stockton in the making.

Anonymous said...

I for one cannot wait to see the "results" and the "plan". Eager to see what mr Starbucks takes credit for too. Hope mrs gill stands by her employee and does not leave. Him hanging alone.

Anonymous said...

As they say, proof is in the pudding. I think us "Monday Morning Quarterbacks" are catching on to Gill.

Anonymous said...

Connie-- outstanding newsletter that promotes economics in elk grove. No need for a slick marketing budget or ad in texas to get good information to the public. if Starbuck reads this, i hope he takes note

Got Gill's Number said...

Oh the Monday Morning Quarterbacks have been on to Laura Gill even before that bogus investigation into the hostile work environment. Ever wonder why so many employees leave the city's employ even with the top salaries and benefits?

After all, El Dorado County is not that far away and some of that county’s employees, along with their residents, have not been silent about their former Chief Administrative Officer.

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