The next time taxpayers pony up property taxes they might reflect on paying City Manager Cotton’s reported pension costing taxpayers and earning Cotton $2.3 million over the next 20 years. In 2007, with the economy melting down, the council majority of Stocks and Bond awarded Cotton a near quarter-million-dollar contract with term 4.1 stipulating Cotton receive a “total base” annual salary of $198,723 (nearly 150 percent more than Encinitas median income of $79,714. — see Wikipedia).
Denied a raise in 2010, Cotton resigned and began receiving a reported monthly pension of $6,454. Cotton had the good luck to be rehired as interim city manager by his friends at City Hall at a monthly rate of $15,000. His ability to “double dip” on taxpayers appears to have paid him $21,454 monthly or $257,448 annually. It seems the liberal spending of Stocks and Bonds made sure the position got a raise after all.
Opponents of big government spending were dumbfounded when Stocks, Gaspar and Bond placed special interests before public interests and approved Cotton the unearned “extra paycheck” he received in 2009 that “spiked” his taxpayer funded pension. Unlike his quarter million dollar deal which was voted on in public Cotton’s ‘extra paycheck’ was purposely kept from public debate and never voted on. The spin from Stocks, Gaspar and Bond is that 2009 had an “extra pay period” that supposedly happens once a decade. In liberally doling out our tax money the three want us to believe there were magically 54 weeks in 2009.
In justifying Cotton the unearned paycheck, the city attorney is quoted “if he worked the two weeks he should be paid the two weeks.” What two weeks? The two weeks never existed. Bond said, “He should be paid what he earned.” What Cotton worked was 52 weeks in one year. What Cotton had was a contract stipulating the “total annual base” salary he agreed to. What Stocks, Gaspar and Bond have given Cotton is an unearned extra paycheck exceeding his agreed to deal allowing him to spike his lifetime pension at taxpayer expense.
Stocks, Gaspar, Bond and the city attorney appear incapable of understanding a contract and representing the best interests of the public. Had they understood the contract they would have seen Cotton’s signature agreeing to the annual total base salary he had already been paid and denied him the unearned extra pay exceeding the total. Were they representing the best interests of the public they would have enforced the contract Cotton had signed saving taxpayers potentially hundreds of thousands. Is Gaspar, who represented herself to voters as a fiscal conservative, as liberal with her business expenses as she is with the taxpayer give away she supported by approving Cotton more money than taxpayers owed him? In her role as CFO at Gaspar Physical Therapy does she routinely pay more money than she is contractually obligated to when her business profits are at stake, or is she comfortable over paying on contracts only when taxpayers are footing the bill?
Sadly, Stocks, Gaspar and Bond would have us believe there were 14 extra days in 2009 and a mythical “54 week pay period.” For many the whiff of impropriety smells of the rotten deals in the city of Bell with spiked pensions and unearned paychecks. Is it time to ask who is looking out for the taxpayers’ best interest and to stop electing big government spenders who treat our tax dollars like personal piggy banks to the benefit of their friends? Those with interest in reading term 4.1 of Mr. Cotton’s employment contract, definition of the word “total,” related news stories, and video of the city attorney and council members can go to www.encinitasethicscouncil.com.
Filed Under: Community Commentary