Lake Elsinore is without a permanent leader.
In a 3-2 vote Tuesday night, the Lake Elsinore City Council decided during its regularly scheduled meeting to terminate City Manager Bob Brady.
Mayor Brian Tisdale and Councilman Bob Magee voted against the termination; Mayor Pro Tem Daryl Hickman, along with council members Melissa Melendez and Peter Weber, voted to terminate.
Lake Elsinore Parks and Recreation Director Pat Kilroy was appointed by the council to serve as interim city manager.
Tuesday night was at times dramatic, as nearly 100 protesters representing a cross-section of the community lined the Cultural Center steps prior to the council meeting. Holding signs reading “We Want Brady” and “We Spoke – You Did Not Listen,” they came to show support for the city manager.
They also turned out to show their displeasure with Hickman, Melendez and Weber, vowing to “unseat” the three.
The protesters said they are part of a newly formed political action committee called “A Better Lake Elsinore.” As they chanted “Brady, Brady,” and some passing motorists honked in support, Lake Elsinore community activist Chris Hyland said, “In my 25 years here, I have never seen anything like this.”
Hyland has started the process of attempting to recall Hickman and is determined, she said, to unseat Melendez and Weber in upcoming elections.
Lake Elsinore resident/business owner and Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District board president Harvey Ryan, who chairs A Better Lake Elsinore, said he doesn’t understand the motivations of the three council members.
But Hickman, Melendez and Weber got their chance to explain during the meeting. Weber and Hickman said they felt Brady had not adequately performed his duties as city manager. They contended the city is not business friendly and needs “a new direction.”
Melendez argued the city manager’s contract was too generous based on his performance. She had voted against a contract extension for Brady last year.
This time around, Melendez said Brady’s pay and benefits package were not in line with his performance or the economic reality of the city.
Brady’s $185,000-a-year-salary ranked him near the bottom of the pay scale for California’s city managers. Melendez asked her colleagues Tuesday night if they wanted to discuss “a compromise” to cut the city manager’s salary and benefits. She suggested his pay be returned to its 2005 level of $135,000 annually and some of his benefits curtailed.
None of the council members came forward.
When asked during a break why he did not support the pay reduction put forward by Melendez, Tisdale said it was not fair to the city manager.
After the council’s decision was rendered, Brady addressed the audience. A typically stoic city manager, he told the crowd of supporters he was “overwhelmed and humbled” by their strong backing over the last week. ( to read about a March 7 special city council meeting held to discuss Brady’s annual performance evaluation.)
Brady promised to stay involved with the community and said he would continue to serve.
“I live here, my kids go to school here,” he said.
Afterward, Tisdale called a 10-minute recess to allow Brady to exit the meeting, during which time supporters huddled around the city manager to offer condolences. He made his way through the hugs, handshakes and some tears.
“Thank you,” he said.