COMPTON, Calif. (2UG) – The city of Compton has fired their city manager during the regular city council meeting held July 11.
City Manager Thomas Thomas, who was on the job for over a year, was terminated by a unanimous vote.
Thomas was named City Manager after a nationwide search was performed after the departure of Craig Cornwell in mid-2021.
AFSME Local 3947 urged the city to act and released a statement in April about Thomas’ alleged mistreatment of City employees.
“The Union has been without a contract since 2019 because the city manager is stalling negotiations and will not settle a fair contract. Additionally, Thomas failed to negotiate a charter amendment with the unions representing City employees before City Council approved to place it on the ballot, in violation of the law. Furthermore, Thomas has been accused of treating employees unfairly and being unresponsive to employees’ issues. Because of the difficulties Local 3947 members have been having with Thomas, members and community supporters attended the Compton City Council meeting on April 18 to urge the City Council members to negotiate a fair contract and to change the way employees are being treated.”
After terminating Thomas, the council appointed Asst. City Manager Triphenia Simmons for one day, then moved to the agenda item to appoint Jerry Groomes.
Mayor Emma Sharif and council members Deidre Duhart and Lillie Darden voted in favor of his appointment with council members Jonathan Bowers voting no and Andre Spicer abstaining.
The city has yet to provide a public statement on whether they will conduct another nationwide search for a permanent city manager.
Groomes previously served temporarily as the city’s manager in 2016 after the city council terminated Roger Haley II.
Groomes was a long-time City Manager for Carson and most recently, as the Interim City Manager for Bell. He also served twice as President of San Diego’s Southeastern Economic Development Corp. and is regarded as a municipal economic development expert. California State University, Dominguez Hills established a scholarship in Groomes name in 2011 for Excellence in Public Administration.
The City adopted its FY 2023-2024 budget during a special city council meeting held June 28 which shows a roughly $16 million surplus.
The city expects to receive $251,903,275 from all revenue sources, while expenditures totaled $235,331,623.
Groomes major task will be to finalize contract discussions with the city’s fire department, which has been without a contract for five years, and other bargaining units.
*this article has been updated to reflect the accurate vote of the council on the termination of Thomas and the vote to appoint Groomes.