COMMUNITY COMMENTARY: Stocks, Gaspar, Bond approve Cotton unearned extra paycheck

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.

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  1. How much is 2 2 says:

    Good points made! It gives one pause to consider that all of the major City contracts have gone through Cotton and Sabine.

    The way that these 2 are, they would not be content with a new set of kitchen appliances. They want extra cash and 6-figure City salaries for girlfriends!

    How much are Encinitas voters paying for their reciprocal quid pro quo actions. There is nothing outstanding or notable about either of these 2 "public servants."

    We should all request the new City Manger end our contract with Sabine. He is an embarrassment.

  2. local guy says:

    Reading the coast news while waiting for my Rauls burrito, the first paragraph of this article caught my attention as at first glance a reader might think that a $2.3 million pension crime has been committed. Reading on, I discover that the “issue” is limited to the authors opinion on an “extra” paycheck.

    A few observations:

    What does the median income of Encinitas have to do with this matter? By that flawed logic, City Workers in RSF should be paid more than those in, say, Compton California.

    The author insinuates that Cotton resigned because he was not given a raise. Is this a fact or speculation? Furthermore, there is no explanation of what the “double dip” is, just the red herring statement with no support. Perhaps this is just not properly explained in the article?

    Regarding the way Gasper runs her business, I looked at my records and indeed, every few years, I am given 27 paychecks in a single year as I am paid every two weeks and sometimes that’s the way the calendar works out. The “54” week comments are again red herring and may be out of context.

    Finally, comparing Encinitas to Bell is ridiculous based on the evidence presented. Is the level of corruption in Encinitas even in the same hemisphere? If so, bring out the facts! One cannot see an ice cube floating on the surface and assume based on gut feel or anecdotal observation that there is an iceberg below.

    The article did inspire me to look at the referenced website. I fully support the notion of watchdog groups like these guys, but, come on, if they don’t have more than an opinion on an “extra paycheck”, they risk sounding more like a group with a political agenda than a well-intentioned watchdog group.

  3. OCB says:

    Cotton signed a contract agreeing to a ‘total base’ salary of 198. All taxpayers owed Cotton was the 198 ‘total’ he agreed to. The extra pay Cotton did not earn spiked his final pension. Stocks, Bond and Gaspar put Cotton’s interest before taxpayers. Read the contract Cotton signed. Watch the video where Stocks and the City attorney ignore the word ‘total’ and teh contract and give away our money. It was 198 in equal installments, be 1 payment or 27 payments, the ‘total’ was to be 198.

    Cotton was also given the unearned pay spike behind closed doors when it should have been talked about in public. Lastly, in Oct 09 Dalager got a free kitchen from a guy who wanted his rock wall to remain up, in February 10 then Mayor Dalager voted to let the rock wall remain up but the other members said the rock wall had to come down. In Oct 10 we learned that 7 months after the city ordered the rock wall down, it was still standing. Who was responsible for taking the rock wall down- Cotton, what did Cotton get from Dalager’s city council- an extra paycheck. Encinitas deserves better.

  4. Jasper Jones says:

    It it pretty clear that Mr. Audet has severe problems. Nothing that full-time employment wouldn’t cure.
    Those who served on the Cardiff Specific Plan Committee to a man/woman have sworn off further civic participation. Due to his influence?
    For a man who doesn’t appear to be gainfully focused, he sure has a lot of access to capital.
    Another Bob Bonde acolyte? You betcha.
    Hopefully, he doesn’t touch any more of Ms. Gaspar’s campaign signs. Barth Kranz?
    Trust that he will create five more online only organizations before the next election.
    Demented?

  5. Local Observer says:

    I was at the council meeting when City Attorney Sabine gave his feeble excuse for authorizing the payment of an extra two weeks of salary to City Manager Cotton. Cotton was on a yearly salary, so what Sabine did is surely illegal. He essentially gave Cotton an unauthorized bonus and a spiked salary for added future pension benefits. This should have come before the council for approval.

    Cotton announced his retirement after he didn’t get an added spike to his salary last year. He was given a temporary contract without benefits or vacation time. Still he was paid for three weeks he didn’t work. The council tacitly admitted the mistake by restricting vacation time is the extension of the contract he was given a few weeks ago.

    The whole thing has an unsavory aspect to it and seems to indicate a violation of public trust.

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