San Carlos City Manager Jeff Maltbie said he believes that the San Mateo County Board Of Supervisors made the right choice when they announced who would serve as acting County Manager.
Of course, he admitted that he may be a bit biased.
That's because the board tapped his father, John Maltbie, to resume the responsibility of running the county during the interim period when the board will conduct its search for a candidate to permanently fill the position.
The board announced John Maltbie, who retired from the post after nearly two decades of service in 2008, will be the acting county manager while the county searches for someone to fill the roll left void by David Boesch.
Boesch, who replaced John Maltbie, unexpectedly resigned last month amidst a difference of opinion with the supervisors regarding how to cope with the county's $50 million structural deficit.
The responsibility of how to address that same challenge now falls in the lap of John Maltbie, who officially began work last week after the board approved a contract paying him $100 per hour for his service.
Maltbie's son Jeff said he believes the board could not have found a person better suited to do the job.
"I think it's terrific," said Jeff, of his father's hiring. "I think the county is really lucky to have someone with so much experience in that position."
But he joked that he would prefer that the board took it easy on his 64-year-old father.
"I hope they don't work him too hard or too long," said Jeff, laughing. "He had a long and active career, and now it's good to have him around with his grandkids."
Jeff Maltbie said that though he expects the hiring to be good for the county, his father's going back to work means that his two granddaughters will need a new babysitter.
John Maltbie also admitted that he was enjoying his retirement, but said he felt a responsibility to assist the county during a time of need, due to the close personal relationships that were bonded during his time as county manager.
"I spent a lot of time working with the folks there," said John Maltbie. "I felt an obligation."
He also said that he likely would have shot down a similar offer from any other county.
The terms of John Maltbie's contract during his interim role raised some eyebrows when the board approved paying him a substantial hourly rate, on top of the more than $130,000 annual retirement benefit he is currently receiving.
The contract mandates that John Maltbie work less than 960 hours over the course of a fiscal year in order to continue receiving his retirement pay.
Under those terms, John Maltbie stands to make a maximum of $228,948 this year, but will not accrue additional retirement pay during his time filling the interim role.
John Maltbie defended the contract that he negotiated with Supervisors Dave Pine and Adrienne Tissier by saying it equates to less than the amount that he received during his career as county manager, and also said that the hourly rate is less than what he would charge as a consultant.
"It's probably a pretty good deal for the county," he said.
And while the board searches for his permanent replacement, John Maltbie will be asked to guide the cash-strapped county through a variety of challenges.
He said that one of the biggest hurdles he will have to overcome is how to lay the groundwork for the county to build a new jail in Redwood City.
Supervisors approved moving forward with a plan to build a jail that can house between 488 and 522 prisoners on 4.8 acres of previously purchased property east of Highway 101 on Chemical Way.
The total cost of building the new jail is expected to be between $100 and $165 million, and the annual operating expense is projected to be about $44 million, according to a public documents.
John Maltbie said he will focus on identifying inmate rehabilitation programs dedicated to reducing recidivism rates that will be ready to roll out by the time the jail opens.
He said ensuring that former inmates who are released from the jail stay out of the justice system will reduce the county's long term cost.
"We want to operate a jail that is protecting the public safety, while we are doing all the things we need to do to keep the population down," said John Maltbie.
Another challenge he faces is consolidation of public services, as the county is frequently taking on the responsibility of law enforcement and fire protection in order to reduce the expense to some local cities.
San Carlos is one of the local examples of a city that elected to collapse its own police department in favor of taking advantage of the savings offered by contracting the county Sheriff's Office to patrol the streets.
The City Manager of San Carlos acknowledged that the close relationship between his city and county just got a little bit more personal.
"There are some funny circumstances here," said Jeff Maltbie. "I never imagined that we would be in that situation."
Jeff Maltbie did not serve as City Manager of San Carlos when he father was county manager.
But Jeff Maltbie said that he believed his father would recuse himself from participating in any discussions relating to business between the county and San Carlos, in order to avoid any perceived conflict of interest.
Yet still, Jeff Maltbie said he was proud of his father, not only for his career achievements, but for his willingness to take on such a great challenge during his retired years.
And John Maltbie said he was up to the test. Not only to serve in his old job again, but also to see his son in action as city manager.
"It will be a fun few months to see how he does his job, up close and personal," said John Maltbie.
And he too admitted that he never thought he would see the day such an opportunity would present itself. In fact, he joked that his son has already exceeded his expectations.
"I never even imagined I would see him in a suit," said John Maltbie, laughing.
John Maltbie's first public meeting as interim County Manager with the Board of Supervisors will begin Tuesday at 9 a.m. in Redwood City.
Freezing Temps Expected This Weekend
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.Write a new post...What do you want to share?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something