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Thousand Oaks OKs Contract With City Manager

Times Staff Writer

The Thousand Oaks City Council has approved a new employment contract for Scott Mitnick, who was named city manager last month.

The council voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve the open-ended contract, at an initial base salary of $195,135.

Mitnick, 41, had served as interim city manager since May, when Philip Gatch stepped down.

“We’re extremely fortunate to have someone of Scott’s character and quality to fill this critical position of executive leadership in our city,” Councilman Dennis Gillette said after the vote.

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The council hires the city manager and city attorney, and they serve at the council’s pleasure.

Mitnick’s salary is comparable to other Ventura County managers. Oxnard, the county’s most populous city, pays its city manager a base salary of $211,120. The top administrator in Simi Valley earns $216,492. In Ventura, which has about 21,000 fewer residents than Thousand Oaks, the city manager earns a base salary of $164,300.

Mitnick’s compensation includes generous benefits, including 40 days of annual vacation and a company car. If he is fired, the contract calls for him to receive 12 months of severance pay.

Mitnick is Thousand Oaks’ third city manager in less than 2 1/2 years.

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Unlike his predecessors, Mitnick was able to negotiate a “non-interference” clause into his contract, in which City Council members stipulate that the city manager has authority over the city’s nearly 650 workers and agree to work through him instead of giving staff members orders directly.

Councilwoman Jacqui Irwin said such wording is not uncommon and is recommended by the California League of Cities. “Scott is trying to do everything exactly by the book,” she said.

After his resignation was announced in April, Gatch told city officials he had been forced out. With 38 years in Thousand Oaks, he was the city’s longest-tenured employee, and received final salary and benefits of more than $215,000, as well as a severance package of nearly $500,000. He is eligible for nearly $194,000 a year in retirement pay.


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