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Contract approved for new city manager

ENCINITAS — After making a few minor adjustments, City Council unanimously approved the new city manager’s contract during a special meeting May 24. Gus Vina’s salary is $210,000.
After five months of recruiting efforts, City Council selected the former Sacramento interim city manager on May 2. His anticipated start date is July 1.
“I’m looking forward to meeting everyone and getting to work,” Vina said during a reception following the meeting.
The salary, which is lower than his predecessor’s, is viewed as a bargain by some council members. Mayor Jim Bond said he was surprised that Vina accepted the deal, saying he was making at least $10,000 more a year in his last job.
“He’s taking quite a cut coming here,” Bond said. Vina’s contract is absent some of the usual benefits given to a city manager such as a car allowance or relocation expenses.
Vina recently resigned as interim city manager for the city of Sacramento in March after receiving a no-confidence vote from the council. He also served as assistant city manager, finance director and budget manager for the city of Sacramento over a 12-year period.
Vina, 50, will replace a controversial figure as the top administrator at the city. City Council voted June 23, 2010, to offer departing City Manager Phil Cotton a temporary contract as interim city manager. Almost one year ago, in late May, Cotton, 61, submitted his resignation, saying he was ready to retire after 12 years with the city.
Cotton took several weeks off after his scheduled retirement date but returned as interim manager in early August to resume his duties as outlined in a new contract.
According to the terms of Cotton’s contract, he receives $15,000 per month. The temporary interim manager’s contract does not include any pension payments, health care insurance or vacation accrual, or other items that Cotton had under his previous contract as city manager.
Vina’s base $210,000 salary appears higher than what the city paid Cotton during his last year as a full-time employee in 2009 which came in at $198,723. However, the figure does not include an extra paycheck for $8,331 he got at the end of the year because of a quirk in the city’s payroll calendar.
It also doesn’t include $17,885 in deferred salary payments that Cotton decided to accept at a later date under the terms of his employment contract. In total his salary at last count came to $224,939, according to city records.
Like Cotton, Vina has the option of deferring some of his city salary, but his deferment will come out of his base salary figure and not in addition to it, Councilwoman Teresa Barth said.
As the city manager, Vina will provide top administrative leadership to Encinitas’ municipal government overseeing eight city departments, including the San Dieguito Water District, 237 employees and a projected fiscal year 2011-2012 operational budget of $88.6 million.
“I look forward to working with Mr. Vina,” Barth said after the appointment.  “I particularly like his openness and his desire to keep the council, staff and community informed and engaged in a positive manner.”
Vina’s 30 years of public sector service was a plus in the competitive application process according to council members. Prior to the city of Sacramento, he served the city of Stockton for 10 years in various positions and the state of California for nine years.
Vina holds a Master of Public Administration from the University of San Francisco and Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from California State University, Sacramento with a concentration in finance.