Barry Tippin is Named City Manager During Fractious Council Meeting that Ends with Recall Notices for Sullivan and Schreder

With a 4-1 vote, the City Council on Tuesday officially hired Barry Tippin to be Redding’s new city manager. By the time the tumultuous meeting ended, Tippin’s first official act may very well be to send a memo to himself urging caution in what he wishes for.

Barry Tippin is Redding's new city manager.

Barry Tippin is Redding’s new city manager. Photos by Jon Lewis.

The appointment of Tippin, the former assistant city manager and director of Redding Electric Utility, appeared to be the spark that ignited a firestorm of criticism that started with his promotion and mushroomed into a searing indictment on Redding elected officials’ apparent lack of progress in making Redding’s streets safer.

By the end of the meeting, Dale Ball, representing a couple dozen boisterous members of the “Take Back Redding” Facebook group, served Council members Francie Sullivan and Kristen Schreder with notices of intent to seek their recall.

Francie Sullivan, left, and Kristen Schreder, right, are recall targets.

Francie Sullivan, left, and Kristen Schreder, right, are recall targets.

“If you’re not part of the solution then you’re part of the problem,” Ball said before announcing the recall effort, adding that it was “nothing personal.” His comments prompted one of dozens of rounds of rowdy applause and cheering that broke out during the three-hour meeting.

The bulk of Tuesday’s vitriol was served up during the public comment section of the meeting, as speaker after speaker complained about crime in Redding and questioned whether council members were listening. Bob Reitenbach, a frequent council critic, was typical. “We feed you,” he said, “and this is the way you repay us—you tell us where to put it in a nonverbal way. You should all just submit your resignations tonight.”

Schreder and Sullivan have a week to respond to the recall notices. Recall proponents will then have 160 days to collect signatures from at least 15 percent of Redding’s registered voters on each petition in order to force a recall election. There were 50,769 voters registered for the November 2016 election.

Tippin was selected from a field of 34 candidates who sought to replace Kurt Starman, who retired last month after 25 years with the city, including the last 11 years as city manager. Tippin, a civil engineer, worked for Caltrans for 13 years before joining the city in 2004. He was appointed assistant city manager in 2008 and tabbed to run the city’s electric utility in 2011.

A graduate of Enterprise High School and Chico State University, Tippin’s salary will be $210,000 a year and he will be eligible for a $7,000 raise in March 2018 if he receives a satisfactory job evaluation. Mayor Brent Weaver said Tippin waived a provision in his new contract that would have guaranteed he be paid 10 percent more than any department director.

Reitenbach called Tippin’s selection a product of the “good ol’ boy system” and wanted to know “what he’s got up his sleeve” that will put more police officers on patrol and address other longstanding problems.

Weaver said he heard “very loud and very clear” that the community wanted the next city manager to come from outside City Hall but in government, unlike a private business, decisions have to made as a team because “we don’t live in a dictatorship.” Weaver said Tippin impressed the council with his idea of preparing both a six- and a 12-month plan that will make it easier to measure Tippin’s leadership abilities.

Schreder said council members were painfully aware of the public safety concerns facing the community—“it’s important we recognize that these are some of the most challenging times we’ve faced”—and she promised “clear direction and priorities” under Tippin’s leadership.

Councilwoman Julie Winter said Tippin “is very aware” of the challenges ahead, including public safety and mounting unfunded pension liabilities. “Give him a chance. I think you will see this community will be well served.”

Councilman Adam McElvain, who cast the lone dissenting vote, said he supports Tippin but he can’t support a contract with built-in raises.

In other action Tuesday, the council:

Heritage Plaza summer pool plans

–Heard a presentation from Bob Miller, chairman of the Heritage Plaza Apartments board of directors, who shared how the board was able to provide season passes to the Redding Aquatic Center (formerly known as “the Plunge”) to 45 families residing at the 180-unit affordable housing complex.

Bob Miller.

Bob Miller.

Miller, who also works with his wife, Chic, to operate Bella Vista Farms, a nonprofit sanctuary for aged and neglected animals, has served on the Heritage Plaza board for 47 years. He said federal housing subsidies and food stamps help Heritage Plaza tenants with the basics but board members “wanted them to be able to participate in some of the fun things” like enjoying a swim at the Caldwell Park pool.

Mayor’s Mountain Bike Challenge

–Heard a report from Public Works Director Brian Crane on the inaugural Mayor’s Mountain Bike Challenge that wrapped up last month. Designed to promote the trails in the Redding area, the challenge offered riders of all abilities a chance to complete a series of rides (five each at the beginning and intermediate levels and four in the advanced) that were listed on downloadable passports.

Brian Crane summarizes the Mayor's Mountain Bike Challenge.

Brian Crane summarizes the Mayor’s Mountain Bike Challenge.

A total of 212 riders turned in passports by the time the 100-day challenge ended. There were 142 males and 70 females. Ages ranged from 7 to 74, Crane said. Some 67 riders completed the beginner trails, 86 tackled the intermediate courses and 59 riders finished the advanced trails.

Some 46 hearty souls, including Weaver, completed the “blackout” and bagged all 14 trails on the challenge for a total of 202 miles and 19,722 feet of climbing. Crane said plans are already in progress for next spring’s challenge.

Jon Lewis
Jon Lewis is a freelance writer living in Redding. He has more than 30 years experience writing for newspapers and magazines. Contact him at jonpaullewis@gmail.com.
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36 Responses

  1. Beverly Stafford says:

    Were there specifics as to why Sullivan and Schreder were singled out for being recalled?

    Thanks, Jon, for your report.

  2. CoachBob says:

    One specific was Francie making a comment some time back that “we are safer on the city streets than in our homes”! And, I suspect with that attitude, she’s part of the problem…not the solution.

    If there were a recall of all 5 I would vote for recall of each and every one of them. Put some more fiscally responsible people back on the job. When our city has the transient/homeless issues we have there’s no excuse in the world to be worried about Home Depot and Lowes taking up parking spaces with their rental trucks and sheds. Just too stupid for words.

    • Jim Briggs says:

      That would be true if it were only possible to focus on one thing at a time, I guess.

    • Anita Lynn Brady says:

      Code enforcement is doing the “worrying” about Lowes and Home. The Council members do not have any role. That is their job.

      Do you want them to pick and choose which businesses they monitor and which they don’t?

      • CoachBob says:

        I would say they (code enforce or anyone else) has much better things to do than tell me how many parking spaces I can have available…only will hurt myself. They need to stick to ticketing kids selling lemonade on the street corners

  3. Patrick says:

    Winters should be added to recall…no way can she be unbiased when it comes to City of Redding and Bethel issues.

  4. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

    Is this the beginning of the Redding Revolution?

    • Justin says:

      That would be interesting but I doubt it.  I don’t think the group promoting the effort can mainstream…

      Even if they can get it done, whats the advantage (besides “sending a message”) over just making a more focused effort in the next election.

    • Carter Slade says:

      It would be about damn time…

       

  5. Debra Atlas says:

    Great reporting, Jon. Always nice to be able to keep up with what’s going on in Redding now that I’m so far away.

  6. Duke K. says:

    The ongoing problem with putting more police on the streets is the costs associated with the unfunded pension liability accrued by offering 3% per  year of service for police and firemen.

    It’s possible for a young person to serve 30 years by their fifties and retire with 90% of their final pay.  In essence, they might easily earn more in retirement than they earn during their years of service.

    • joejoe says:

      They don’t have 3%@50 anymore, that was cut several years ago.  It is now 2.5%@57 and has been for some time.

  7. KATHLEEN RAVEN SURBAUGH says:

    Cut the $210K salary in half and give the job to someone fresh out of a master’s degree program in Public Administration who agrees to stick on the job for 5 years and use it as a launch to a career in present-day-issues small city management.  Cut the salaries for most department heads by 40-50% and hire like-wise freshly educated young people anxious to prove themselves capable.  Who needs quarter-million dollar figureheads in a town like this?  We can meet our budget best by buying out of the myth that “no one good will work for less” horse poop.  And that, too, would not only bring fresh, thoughtful strategies to issues like homeless transients (and how to serve them, instead of just abusing and demoralizing them further down into oblivion) while making Redding a showplace for not just our great trail system and Turtle Bay, but for creative dealing with more or less universal challenges all cities with moderate climates face in this era of failing safety nets and reduced budgets for getting substance abusers into rehab (whether voluntarily or by means of sentences to a year on a county farm where they can dry out and raise chickens, cultivate melons and fruit and practice the fine art of getting up in the morning and doing something that produces visible progress — food, better hygiene, a little honest sweat on the brow.  That’s a “get back to basics” program our grandparents would all recognize.

    • trek says:

      Well said!

       

      • Jerry says:

        Thank you for the most reasonable comment of all.  Well thought out, doable suggestions, and salaries that fit in with rest of us taxpayers.  The worker bees, hourly, and union are not the money problem.  Managers get the bloated salary, with multiple perks.

    • Justin says:

      ” someone fresh out of a master’s degree program in Public Administration” Have you ever met someone fresh out of a masters degree program? or worked with them? Yikes, this is a frightening idea.

  8. Frank Treadway says:

    It’s amazing how many folks don’t know what the city council can and cannot get involved with. Some of you need to look up the directions, codes and regulations that city’s like Redding can engage in. And it’s even more amazing how rude and discourteous some speakers can be when they get in the spotlight. I noticed many high fives and slaps on the backs of their organized 3 minute joust. Some need a good lesson in English grammar, some need to speak with facts and some need to just retire from their inflammatory dialogue.  As far as the recall threat, good luck in getting the signatures within the time frame, just won’t happen.  And, will the Take Back Redding folks (made up of Trumpkins, T-Party left overs and hapless State of Jefferson folks) pay for the likely $20,000. a special recall election will cost ?  If you see them at a local venue trying to gather signatures, make sure they answer that question, as it’s going to be your tax dollars. Oh, and one more question for the naysayers, ‘How many of you voted Yes on Measure D ?’ Doubtful if any, and then they say look at Anderson, that’s because they voted for a special tax to be used mostly for safety, and believed in it.

  9. For those of you who would like to recall one (or all members) of the city council, who would you like to see elected to fill these important positions? Not what type of person – but people you think would actually take on this monumental weight onto their shoulders.

    • Richard Christoph says:

       

      Gee, Val,

      How about two of last night’s most passionate speakers, the inimitable Mr. Washburn and that paragon of oratorical civility, Mr. Reitenbach.  They clearly possess all the answers to Redding’s problems and certainly drew loud and animated support for their multiple 3-minute diatribes. Short on experience but long on confidence—what could possibly go wrong?

    • Gary Tull says:

      Perhaps a more equal balance of liberal and conservative thinking in city hall would be helpful. An ongoing domination of one political party’s thinking doesn’t seem to be working out well. Example: available resources could be coupled with fresh progressive ideas but the ideas are usually ignored. I believe they appear too liberal to the city council.

      To paraphrase humorist Dave Barry; Conservatives think of liberals as godless, unpatriotic, Volvo-driving, France-loving, elitist latte guzzlers, whereas liberals dismiss conservatives as ignorant, NASCAR-obsessed, gun fondling religious fanatics. An exaggeration, for sure, but the reality is still pretty stark.

      The case here it seems is a lack of balance and the inability to find sensible middle ground on practically anything.

       

  10. Frank Treadway says:

    PS  and Correction: It is estimated that a Special Election to recall 2 city council members would cost the City of Redding taxpayers’ $200,000., not $20,000. slight typo. So, you who think this is a good idea, think twice before you sign any petition that will cost you and your tax dollars that amount. Instead I suggest you have a face-face with council members to address your issues, it’s called dialogue.  Gathering over 7600 registered voters in 160 days is daunting, unless you’re offering sour grapes per signature.

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      This is the same thing as Kathy Griffin posing for the decapitation picture. Off with their heads! That $210,000 city manager salary is looking pretty elite to the rank and file. It’s seems like the talking may be over. It’s pitchfork and torches for the establishment, wherever they may be!

      • Dick says:

        2015 California City Manager salaries (2016 data is due any day) http://publicpay.ca.gov/Reports/Cities/Cities.aspx?fiscalyear=2016&rpt=6&chart=1  Redding is on page 6.

         

        • Virginia says:

          It doesn’t matter what other city managers get, but should be in proportional to the average income for the people who live in the city.

          I remember when city, state, federal jobs were not paid as high as outside employers, BUT they had good compensation pay.  Today they have the both of both worlds.

          Redding is in the red for pensions, and the council hasn’t figured out how to pay the debt!. It needs commons sense.  It is not about Trump or Clinton or the past election!

          Raises should be on the job performance you are given the raise for and not by a due date!

          K.R. Surbaugh had it right.

           

  11. Jeff Gore says:

    I propose the city cap TOTAL compensation for any one employee at 10x the city’s per capita income, currently $24,000, meaning Tippin can keep his $210k base salary as long as his other compensation is less than $30k.

     

    For comparison, Starman’s $230k base pay yielded $354k total compensation.

     

    This would add an element of performance-based compensation; managers desiring a raise will need to find a way to work together to increase income for the average city resident.  And it’ll put an end to silly comparisons with what other cities spend.

  12. Anonymous Heckler says:

    I have the highest regard for Dale Ball, who has devoted more of his personal time and energy to literally cleaning up Redding than I ever will.

    But I don’t understand what this movement hopes to accomplish.

    Schreder has been energetically devoting her time to finding solutions to our local homelessness issues, a big source of frustration.  Is it all roses politically? Far from it.  But let’s build some better relationships and get to work at the task on hand.

    Sullivan campaigned avidly for Measure D, which would have steered much-needed new dollars to public safety.  Hate to say it, but some of those now knocking the council we’re not at all helpful when there was a plan to get something done on the table.

    I get the frustration about the state of the city, but a recall drive seems likely to stir more pointless division than to actually improve anything.  And heck, the time it got on the ballot, Schreder and Sullivan would have less than a year left in their terms anyway.  To those who think we could do better, why not just run next year?

    • Beverly Stafford says:

      Your comments about Schreder and Sullivan were exactly what I thought which is why I wonder about singling these two out.  Remember the ludicrous recall for Gray Davis?  Very costly and went nowhere.  With all the possible choices, the Republican party put forth and unelectable candidate in Bill Simon then forced the recall.  And we got Arnie.  I certainly hope this City Council recall fails and that the $$$ it would cost are put toward solving the homeless/criminal/vagrant/riff-raff/vandal problem.

  13. cheyenne says:

    Cheyenne does not have a city manager, the mayor is the one in charge of running the city.  Casper has a city manager.  While the city manager advocates state that a manager has more experience in running a city the opponents state that these city manager have high turnover.  While a city manager is generally one of the highest paid city employees with a pension that lasts long after their gone a mayor generally doesn’t.  The mayor is elected every four years which has the advantage of replacement by voters if they don’t like them.  It can result in an extreme change in running a city with a new mayor coming in.  That is what is happening in Cheyenne as the new mayor, Marion Orr, has decided to fix potholes and other problems the city faces unlike the previous mayor who believed in a build it and they will come as the council wanted to change Cheyenne into north Fort Collins.  It is hard to look at the nice new lighting when one is trying to avoid potholes.  Cheyenne recently lost out to Loveland on a snack food company that said they look for cities that have a least 200,000 in population.  One of the holdovers, who will be voted out next election, said that this is why Cheyenne needs more cosmetic work so it will attract more people.  How he figures better downtown lighting will triple Cheyenne’s population is beyond me.  Marion Orr, the new mayor, has started downtown police walking patrols, something the old mayor was against, and it has produced a positive effect on downtown.  The homeless problem was beginning to get out of hand and now it has stopped.  Public drunkenness is way down.  People feel safer downtown and there are a lot of walking tourists seeing the sites.  In my opinion the mayor system is better than the city manager system.

  14. cheyenne says:

    In Colorado when they have a recall election there has to be a replacement candidate on the ballot.  Thus when Coloradoans vote in a recall they vote twice.  First for a yea or nay on the recall and then an additional vote on the candidate they want to replace the recalled legislator.

    I remember the Gray Davis circus and the 300 plus candidates to replace him.  I voted for the stripper who said she would tax breast implants, that would have solved California’s budget problems for years.  Another worthy candidate, who had family in Redding, was a bounty hunter who served a year in prison for tax evasion.   In fact I think a couple of residents at the pet cemetery in Anderson received votes.

  15. Common Sense says:

    The whole Recall thing reminds me of the whole Jefferson Movement….sounds good to some in Theory….then there is Reality! $200k for the recall……that’s a lot of Loot when the Coffers are empty and the firefighters are getting laid off etc!

    And with Whom do you want to replace the current counsel people with?….any takers out there to take the verbal abuse every meeting for $19k and change a year?….

    A Balance would be nice! For sure…….or as close to it as possible…..But more importantly….some OPEN Minds….

    If you keep doing the same things over and over again and hope for different results….. according to Einstein….you are Insane.

    Julie Winter was emailed a proposal ( within days of her being sworn in)  on how the city of Redding could be taking in anywhere from $3-5 Million a year by saying YES to Prop 64 Instead of NO……buttttt….we haven’t heard much about that have we?? Ahhh…. Julie….Check your SPAM Folder if you say you didn’t get it…..

    So…what could the City do with an Extra $4 Million a year?…..hire a couple officers?….keep a handful of firefighters?….work on some Drug problems?….work on the homeless situation?……one thing is clear…..by saying NO……you Won’t have that money!

    • joejoe says:

      Ball was already quoted somewhere saying the recall would cost a lot of money but he essentially did not care.  Make no mistake what this is.  There is a reason they singled out the two perceived most liberal council members.  This is a thinly veiled tea party uprising.  The tea party learned from the flogging of Patrick Jones and Gary Cadd.  You cannot be constantly anti-everything and expect to mainstream public to accept you.  So this group has taken up the safer city cause as an avenue to try and get their own jefferson type people on the council at the expense of everyone else.  Nothing more than smarter, younger, tea party minded types.  The exact reason this city cant get out of its own way and get anything done.  Ask how many of them voted for measure D to fund public safety.  That will be the easiest way to reveal their true intentions.

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