David Rudat
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City Manager Wins Vote of Confidence
Los Al City Council extends Rudat's contract after rumors surfaced that panel was planning to remove him.
Thursday, October 16, 2008

City Council members squashed rumors that interim City Manger Dave Rudat would be fired and opted to extend his contract as they had planned.

Some employees and residents and even one council member expressed concern at this week's meeting that the council would try to remove Rudat.

But council members said they not leave the city hanging without its manager. They voted unanimously to keep Rudat on board. Rudat was on a family vacation and did not attend the meeting.

Rudat's contract was set to expire Friday. The extension will keep him with the city until about December. City Attorney Dean Derleth said. He was hired in October 2007 and his retirement agreement does not allow him to work beyond the end of the year if he works full time, Derleth added.

The council retreated into a closed session for more than an hour to review Rudat's contract. Hi will forgo his benefits, which total about $34,000, and be paid $85 an hour instead of about $76 an hour to stay on.

Rudat oversees more than 60 city employees in a city of about 12,000 residents. He was applauded for maintaining a stable work environment at City Hall and addressing and solving some pending budget issues.

He worked for the city of Orange for 33 years - 10 of those as city manager.

About a dozen city employees and a handful of business owners and residents spoke to Rudat's qualifications and asked the city "not to get rid of him."

"This would appear to be a no-brainer," resident Richard Vardeman said. "He is the best qualified city manager we have had in several years."

Concern that Rudat might not stay stemmed from the city's track record with previous administrators, some residents said. The city has seen three city managers since 2006.

Lee R. Evett resigned in 2006, citing philosophical differences with council members. He was hired to replace Robert Dominguez, who took the city manager job in Placentia.

Luci Romero Serlet was let go in September 2007 in a 3-2 cote after 16 months on the job.

Nita McKay, the administrative services director, took over until Rudat came on board.

After the testimonials to Rudat's leadership and effectiveness, Mayor Ken Parker interjected, "We are not considering firing the city manager."

He said the council would not leave the city hanging, but added that seeking a permanent city manager is a high priority. "If there was somebody in house to take over now, they'd be in charge." Parker said.

A letter in a local newspaper alluded that Rudat would be fired, which was an unfair assumption, Councilwoman Catherine Driscoll said.

"I was very disheartened with that," she said. "I think there was a huge misleading to the public."

However, Councilman Troy Edgar said he also thought the council might try to oust the city manager.

"I had a very similar concern," he said. "The people in the community are thankful...this guy is worth fighting for."