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PORT HUENEME : City Manager Is Offered Contract

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Faced with the impending retirement of three department heads, the Port Hueneme City Council has extended a five-year contract to City Manager Richard Velthoen.

Retaining an experienced chief administrator to run the city is imperative because the city’s finance director, police chief and public works director all will be eligible for retirement within two years, said Councilman Dorill B. Wright.

“It’s in the long-term interest of the city to provide continuity during a period of change in top management positions,” Wright said of the contract, which runs through 1996 with annual extensions to the year 2000.

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Velthoen, 54, has managed the city of 20,000, working without a contract, since 1976. He currently earns $97,000 a year, including deferred compensation.

His salary increases will be negotiated each year in line with other top city staff, Wright said. Among the new benefits Velthoen receives in the contract are 10 days of administrative leave, on top of the four weeks vacation given all city employees of his tenure.

Wright stressed that Velthoen will “continue to serve at the council’s pleasure,” though dismissing him under the contract for anything short of malfeasance could be costly. The city could be bound to pay him the entire amount outstanding on his contract if they dismiss him without sufficient cause, Wright said.

The council will have a final vote on the contract Jan. 8.

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