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Council set to OK contract for Striplin

$220K city manager salary reportedly below average

Posted: September 10, 2012 4:37 p.m.
Updated: September 10, 2012 4:37 p.m.

The Santa Clarita City Council is poised to sign off on a contract including a $220,000 salary for Assistant City Manager Ken Striplin when he assumes the role of city manager in January.

The proposed salary is a 10 percent increase from Striplin’s current salary and 5 percent below average for similarly sized cities, according to an agenda report.

Striplin was chosen by the City Council at an Aug. 30 meeting to fill the position being vacated by City Manager Ken Pulskamp, who is retiring at the end of the year. Pulskamp’s retiring salary is $251,000.

In deciding on a salary, city officials prepared a list of city manager salaries for 10 similarly sized cities, including Oxnard, Pasadena, Irvine, Lancaster, Glendale, Thousand Oaks, Palmdale, Burbank, Simi Valley and Ventura. Oxnard has the highest salary at $282,982, while Ventura has the lowest: $174,161.

In selecting Striplin as the new city manager just days after Pulskamp announced his resignation, the city bypassed the step of conducting a national search for city manager candidates. Both Lancaster and Thousand Oaks did the same, city spokeswoman Gail Ortiz said.

In Lancaster, she said, the assistant city manager served as interim city manager for several months before being officially promoted, and in Thousand Oaks the assistant city manager was, like Striplin, promoted directly to city manager.

When it comes to filling executive positions at City Hall, there is no set method, Ortiz said. The city manager’s office handles hiring, and Ortiz said Pulskamp has preferred to take a case-by-case approach to hiring, examining the pros and cons to promoting from within or opening up positions to outside candidates.

“We’re very blessed to have a talented, well-educated, experienced staff,” she said.
“Ken (Striplin) is a real example of that,” Ortiz said. “He started as an intern. ... He’s spent his career (preparing) for this position.”

Striplin has worked for Santa Clarita for 17 years and has been assistant city manager for the past eight. He is also manager of the city’s personnel office.

While Ortiz was unaware of Striplin being formally courted for a position outside Santa Clarita, she said, “He gets recruited on a regular basis. ... He wants to be the city manager for the city of Santa Clarita.”

The City Council is set to vote on Striplin’s proposed contract at its regular meeting Tuesday night at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall, located at 23920 Valencia Blvd.



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