Today’s Inglewood City Council Agenda included closed session item CS-1. The item reads Closed session – Pursuant to Government Code Section 54957(b); Public Employee Discipline/Dismissal/Release. 2UrbanGirls is wondering if the item is related to City Manager Artie Fields.
In a previous article titled Why is the Inglewood City Manager Refusing to Sign Staff Reports gave a clue that Fields has issues with putting his John Hancock on certain city documents. Important city staff reports instead beared the signature of one of Fields’ deputy’s, Yakema Decatur.
On July 7, 2015, the city gave Fields a raise and an additional two year term to serve as City Manager. The agreement called for 5% annual increases which would bring his salary to $291k by 2016.
On July 26, 2016, city council extended his employment agreement to July 2020 under Agreement 15-221. By July 2020, Fields was expected to earn $318,049 after annual 3% increases. The agreement also stipulates (4) votes would be needed to terminate it.
City Attorney Ken Campos reported out during today’s meeting that the city council met, had a discussion with outside counsel, and direction was given to staff. Harris & Associates is the usual law firm tapped to handle employee terminations. Campaign records show John Harris is a regular contributor to Mayor Butts and Councilman Ralph Franklin.
The city has come under fire for outrageous bonuses being paid to executive staff, one year after reporting a $17 million dollar budget shortfall in FY 2017-18. The city has come under fire for allegations Mayor Butts and Councilman Eloy Morales profited from their vote on the trash contract and now they are naming a city facility after Morales and his father.
Chamber employee Erick Holly came to the podium, during public comment, and said “people are starting to fall in line and if they don’t like it they can move on” which is odd considering it was alleged he stole from the chamber. One would also expect to hear him talk about chamber business and detail new businesses who are either joining or considering joining the organization he leads.
The Mayor and Council continue to rejoice and marvel that the Girl Scouts have returned to Inglewood. The original Girl Scouts house was demolished to make way for City Hall back in the 70’s, and it was moved to Centinela Park across from the tennis courts.
This author is a former Inglewood Girl Scout who met weekly at the location in Centinela Park. The city had that building demolished due to the Parks & Recreation departments failure to keep the facility up. But I guess we aren’t supposed to remember such things.
2UrbanGirls is purely speculating that Artie Fields could face termination, however, he was not present during today’s council meeting, giving many to ponder over the weekend who could possibly be let go. We will have to stay tuned and see if he makes next weeks meeting.
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The City Manager Mr. Fields earns a substantial salary from the City of Inglewood; however, we can reasonably assume that Mr. Fields has made his own calculations of the potential cost of signing certain department reports.
Those calculations must have helped Mr. Fields to understand his current salary is not sufficient compensation to cover the potential future costs of signing these documents.
Such potential future costs would include the time spent in mandatory depositions, court hearings, trial testimony, legal expenses, fines, fees and other payments to fulfill court judgements. Costs also include damage to his future employability and earning potential, decreased life expectancy due to anxiety and stress from involvement in high-profile litigation with the possibility of severe financial penalties and/or prison sentence.
Mr. Fields, in my opinion, decidedly correctly that signing the documents and retaining his job with the city are not worth all of the potential costs.