From the annals of Chutzpah in St. Helena

I’m sure Jennifer Phillips is a nice person, and very competent.  However does the City of St. Helena need to spend almost a quarter of a million dollars a year on a City Manager? I think not!! Think about it.  St. Helena has a population of about 5,800 people.  Of those, about 60% are full time residents.  That means that every full time resident is paying about $58 a year, just for the City Manager. Phillips was quoted as saying how excited she was to be in St. Helena.  And why not. Her package includes:

  • $188,000 a year in base salary
  • About $6,000 a year auto allowance,
  • A month of paid vacation,
  • 5 days of a paid executive leave
  • 10 days of sick leave.

The city goes through City Managers almost as fast as it goes through school superintendents,  (well, maybe not that fast.) All the city’s department heads have left.  Will she be hiring new ones scaled to and commensurate with her salary? In ten years of work, the city still lacks a general plan. It’s failed to live up to its legally mandated affordable housing obligations. Its pride insists on it having its own police force and dispatchers, when it would be more efficient, as it is for American Canyon, to contract with the City of Napa and the County respectively. TOT revenue lags behind Napa, Yountville and Calistoga. Property values, according to the latest assessments from Tuteur, have gone up the least in the County. Maybe some serious reassessment is needed before spending almost a quarter of a million a year on a City Manager? Maybe the hire should have waited until after the next local elections in November.

We’ll be talking with Ann Navaro in a couple of weeks and other St. Helena local candidates as well.  Do they all buy into this? Stay tuned!