Brennan eyes Nevada City departure |

Brennan eyes Nevada City departure

The Union archives: Photo by John Hart
John R. Hart |

After a couple years as Nevada City’s city manager, David Brennan is formulating plans to find his own replacement.

Brennan, whose contract with Nevada City ends at the end of December, has served as the town’s municipal leader in a part-time capacity since June 2011 when he replaced a retiring Gene Albaugh, who has since passed away.

During his tenure, Brennan has worked to stabilize the government’s budget, which lost $487,000 of general fund revenue from 2008-09 levels during the economic recession.

Those funding shortfalls prompted Nevada City to staff many of its highest department positions with part-time workers. In addition to the city manager, the town’s police chief, its city attorney and city engineer were not full-time workers.

Brennan, who served as Nevada County’s assistant administrator and administrator from July 1993 to August 1999, came to Nevada City as a California Public Employees’ Retirement System annuitant. He also served as the Sebastopol city manager from August 1999 to March 2009 and as the interim program manager for the Sonoma County Regional Climate Protection Authority prior to taking the Nevada City position.

Brennan has supplemented his $48,000 city salary with his pension and, as long as he didn’t work more than 960 hours a year, the municipality was spared from contributing toward the pension of a part-timer.

Similarly, those other part-time positions were also staffed with pension annuitants.

On top of a CalPERS crackdown on this practice, which has prompted the city to initiate the replacement of Police Chief Jim Wickham more than a year earlier than initially planned, Brennan has repeatedly said that staffing key department head positions with part-timers was only a short-term solution.

While part-time retirees brought with them years of experience, it left the city vulnerable to their eventual departures.

“The city can’t keep going with a revolving door for its top managers,” Brennan told The Union Tuesday.

In addition to eliminating furloughs, building a currently nonexistent emergency fund and the purchase of reportedly needed equipment and deferred maintenance, securing resources to make those part-time positions full time was one of the main reasons the city cited when it asked voters to approve a 3/8 percent increase to the city’s sales tax in the November 2012 election.

With more than two-thirds of voters approving Measure L, expected to bring in $395,000 additional revenues during the tax’s first year of its five-year life span, Brennan has said he has no plans to remain on board when the city manager’s position is funded full time.

“That’s never been a consideration on my part,” Brennan said.

“My plan, at this point, is to initiate a recruitment for a full-time city manager sometime in the second half of the year.”

To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email or call (530) 477-4236.

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