BREAKING NEWS: Pinkerton Agrees to Terms with Incline Village

pinkerton-steveCity Manager Steve Pinkerton and the Incline Village Board of Trustees have agreed to a negotiated employment agreement.  The Board still must ratify it at their meeting, which is scheduled to take place this afternoon at 3 pm.

City Manager Pinkerton has declined comment until the board approves the contract.  According to the terms of his agreement in Davis, City Manager Pinkerton must give the Davis City Council two months’ notice before he can leave.  That gives the city two months to figure out who will be the interim city manager and to work on a transition plan.

The Vanguard learned from a source in the city that at last night’s city council meeting, the council did not discuss an interim city manager or transition plan.  Council apparently decided to wait until Mr. Pinkerton finalized his decision before holding a closed session meeting.

The contract is a three-year term that automatically renews for an additional three-year term  if notice is not given by July 28, 2016.  Mr. Pinkerton agreed to an annual gross salary of $175,000.

A vote this afternoon will likely end the saga that began at the start of the year when it was learned that Mr. Pinkerton was one of two finalists for the position of General Manager at Incline Village.

He was offered the position following a 4-1 vote by the Board of Trustees in the morning of January 29, 2014, and at that point entered into contract negotiations.

 “I’m looking forward to hopefully having successful contract negotiations and getting up here and getting started as soon as possible,” Mr. Pinkerton said after Wednesday’s board meeting. “It has to be a contract we can all work out … for me to run the district effectively, there needs to be a good contract in place. I’m confident we can do that.”

“I am honored to be the preferred candidate for the General Manager position for IVGID.  We are now in the contract negotiation stage,” he told the Vanguard at that time.

He would add, “As I stated before, this is a unique opportunity.  I’m very happy in my current position.   I truly enjoy working with our City Council.  We’ve made many friends in Davis and the quality of life here is great.”

Part of the speed of the process was that one of the finalists with Mr. Pinkerton for the position, a local resident, was ruled ineligible.  The Tahoe Daily Tribune reported earlier that the “search firm hired by the IVGID Board of Trustees to find a new district leader is taking blame for an oversight that reveals one candidate was never qualified to apply.”

This finalist for the position of general manager of the Incline Village General Improvement District, Eric Severance, does not have a bachelor’s degree, one of the position’s minimum requirements.

The paper reported, “While Severance, an Incline resident, was a member of the class of 1975 at Juniata College, he did not graduate with a degree, a spokesperson for the Huntingdon, PA., school confirmed Monday.”

The paper noted, “Severance, who wrote on his resume he attended Juniata and had continuing education at Southern Oregon State University and Rogue College (Medford, Ore.), confirmed Tuesday he does not hold a degree.”

“I never misrepresented anything on my resume, what’s there is exactly as it’s stated,” Mr. Severance told the paper. “The search firm vetted me and understands all of my background and qualifications. They recommended to put me forward based on my total lifetime accomplishments as the best candidate for the position.”

The listed job description is, “A Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration, Business, Finance, Accounting Engineering or other related field from an accredited four year college or university is required.” Further, a master’s in public or business administration is “strongly preferred.”

It is of course the other finalist that we have more interest in, and Mr. Pinkerton, of course, meets both the required and preferred educational levels needed for the position.

Mr. Pinkerton, in a comment on the record, cited personal reasons for applying for the Incline Village position.

He told the Vanguard in early January, “My wife and I have always loved Lake Tahoe.  Audrey lived in Zephyr Cove as a young adult and has always dreamed of going back to the mountains.  We also have very close friends who live in the Reno-Tahoe area.”

He called the opportunity a unique one and denied he was actively seeking a new position.

“While I haven’t been actively looking for a new position, the position description piqued my interest,” stated Mr. Pinkerton.  “The opportunity to manage a service-focused Special District in one of the most livable communities in the country is a unique opportunity.”

Mr. Pinkerton was backed by a number of councilmembers and candidates in early February in hopes that he would stay.

“As people are aware, I do not to wish to lose Steve as our City Manager,” Councilmember Brett Lee posted on the Vanguard.  “As you have reported, currently there are three votes that support retaining Steve. The three of us are not able to promise what will happen after June since we do not know what will happen in that election.”

Mayor Joe Krovoza added, “The magnitude of the issues our council has taken on with Steve and senior staff since Steve’s arrival in the fall of 2011 is simply staggering to me.”

“It would be an enormous loss if Steve were to go now,” he stated.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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        1. growth issue

          When I drove past the 5th Street fire house I could’ve sworn I saw balloons in the breakroom, but I may be wrong as I was kind of blinded by a flying plastic bag.

  1. Matt Williams

    I think it is time to focus on the positives. Steve has done great things for the City in the short time he has been here. A whole lot has been accomplished, and the platform to continue to accomplish more is in place.

    Now is a time to give him his just due, support for his personal decision, and thanks for the improements he has wrought. He deserves that. he has earned that.

    It is also important to note that Steve won’t be leaving us empty handed. What we saw on display last night was the team Steve has assembled and led displaying the very high quality of the work they do. Mike Webb and Herb Niederberger with respect to the Nishi item, Rob White with respect to the Innovation and Economic Vitality item and Yvonne Quiring with respect to the Revenue Measures item. This City will be in very good hands even if (when) Steve moves on to Incline Village. We have a lot to be thankful for.

  2. Day Man

    Wait a minute. In response to the sales tax article, you just posted that you don’t support the sales tax (because of personnel costs). So I would think that if the CM turnover hurts the sales tax prospects (as you assert, and as I think I agree), you would see that as good news, no?

    1. J.R.

      A valid question, so let me clear this up.

      Certainly the city government and city employees would benefit from a sales tax if it passed. This is who I was referring to when I said it’s failure was bad for the city. The residents of the city who pay the tax would be financially hurt by the passage of a sales tax.

      Is the above inconsistent with being opposed to sales tax passage unless the city commits to additional cost cutting options that it has not yet adopted?

  3. Michael Harrington

    Hey everyone ! Party’s at the main firehouse tonight!

    Lucas and Dan now have their union creds

    If they get their sales tax increase you know where it’s going, right? Not family programs!

  4. hpierce

    Let’s see… will I greive the departure of a manager, was a significant part of projects that brought Stockton to the point of bankrupcy? Will I greive the departure of the Manteca City Manager who presided over the decline of his city financially and basically decimated city staff, and employee morale? Will I greive the departure of a CM who immediately after starting to work ordered a signicicant remodel to City Hall to create a new, larger, office, as remote as was possible to the public and to staff, behind a main door saying City “Employees Only”, at the cost of 10’s of thousamds of dollars? Will I greive over the departure of a CM who then ordered another remodel (tens of thousands of dollars) to relocate a major portion of a department which decreased efficiencies, shoe-horned employees into tiny spaces, and basically damaged morale, big time? Will I greive over the loss of a CM, whose only apparent “leadership” was following CC orders? Gonna have to think about my answers to those questions.

    Do know that Mr Pinkerton was NOT the “messiah” as some seem to believe.

    1. Nancy Price

      Glad to see some of this background talked about, but there are more details about Stockton and Manteca that should have been disclosed much sooner.

      Who did approve of the remodel of City Hall and what was the total cost?

      I am fed up with the City Council and a city government that is not transparent and open, where “special interests” know what is going on and operate in the background and publicly when necessary, and the public really doesn’t what is going on in their name and how their tax $$$ are being spent.

      No wonder the public is disengaged.

      1. hpierce

        My understanding is that no remodel “project” existed, so it may very well be impossible to determine the costs of the remodelling work…may well have been spread out into various operational budgets.

      2. hpierce

        As far as “disclosure” of the past, it WAS DISCLOSED back when the CM was hired, with links to the Manteca newspaper site, and elsewhere on this and other blogs. Too bad you weren’t paying attention. Try not to be self-righteous now.

        1. Mr. Toad

          I tried looking for some old articles about Steve leaving those other places and found some interesting things:

          Michael Fitzgerald


          By Michael Fitzgerald
          May 09, 2008
          Record Columnist
          If I’d known that Steve Pinkerton, Stockton’s director of redevelopment, had to pass a drug test before taking his new job, I’d have slipped something into his tea.

          Then he would not be hired away as Manteca’s city manager, and Stockton could continue to benefit from his talents. As it stands, though, Pinkerton’s last day is June 13.

          Pinkerton is one occupant of City Hall who clearly grasped healthy policies for Stockton’s growth and revival. He understands cities better than anyone I ever met.

          That’s not a put-down of City Hall, by the way. The truth is few elected leaders – few people anywhere – are equal to the forces affecting American cities.

          “I think there’s a real simple thing,” Pinkerton said. “If you’re basically abandoning one part of the city for another, we all end up paying for that.”

          Stockton erred in the 1960s. A council approved a northside mall far enough from freeways to be illogical, but economically potent enough to kill a vibrant downtown.

          Since that time – 50 years – council after council has wrestled with a decaying downtown, blight, suburbs becoming slums, crime, and the difficulty of funding good services, seemingly unable to fathom and manage the root causes.

          Pinkerton argued Stockton’s urban model is flawed. In several fundamental ways.

          First, growth has not paid for itself. In okaying suburbs, the city extended infrastructure and services – curbs and cops – farther and farther at ever-greater cost. Depleted city coffers cannot maintain existing neighborhoods.

          Second, by subsidizing sprawl the city gave new parts of town an unfair economic advantage over old. Downtown could not compete.

          Third, the city okays suburban projects without assessing their effect on existing retail and neighborhoods. In the resulting Darwinian environment, whole shopping centers and neighborhoods decay.

          Fourth, the city’s emphasis on street widening and big boxes often scours neighborhoods of their character, conducing to blandness and blight, and it forces residents to drive farther to shop.

          Fifth, developers, not planners, drive growth. Pinkerton sees this as a failure of the city to impose a plan. Instead, developers buy land where they can. The city slavishly extends itself to incorporate their projects.

          “You have a series of land transactions, not a series of strategic decisions,” Pinkerton said. “That’s what happened in the community.”

          Sixth, City Hall’s centralized bureaucracy treats the entire city as a monolith. Better appreciation of neighborhood concerns, more grass-roots engagement, has to be institutionalized.

          Pinkerton’s deep study of cities provided Stockton with many of its biggest ideas over his 14-year run. He suggested the Strong Neighborhood Initiative, a $116 million neighborhood upgrade.

          He suggested the Neighborhood Renaissance program of neighborhood panels, which will give input to City Hall on spending.

          He suggested the city’s strategy to lower the cost of downtown housing until it can compete with suburbs and people again live in the city center.

          These programs alone promise to do more for the city than 25 years of councils did in the 20th century. And that is not even to mention such accomplishments as the downtown multiplex.

          Of course, at best Pinkerton and his supporters provided only some counterweight to the status quo.

          Stockton’s new General Plan calls for the city to double – ludicrous when it cannot even maintain its current roads or satisfactorily reduce its crime.

          And proposals such as the one to build a rival multiplex out north could reverse much of what the city has achieved.

          Clearly Pinkerton’s replacement should not take the city in a new policy direction but should continue the promising work under way. That goes for council candidates, too.

          “Growth is not bad,” Pinkerton said. “Growing so quickly that it leaves other areas behind is bad.”

          Pinkerton, may I see your tea for a moment?

          Contact columnist Michael Fitzgerald at (209) 546-8270 or

        2. Mr. Toad

          And here is another:

          Pinkerton period ending

          Departing city manager recaps past 3 years

          Dennis Wyatt

          August 26, 2011

          Manteca trimmed spending by $14.1 million and shed 88 municipal workers during Steve Pinkerton’s tenure as city manager.

          The city also weaned itself away from a structured deficit by re-negotiating employee contracts and establishing a budget that relies strictly on money collected during a given fiscal year to pay for the cost of services provided.

          Pinkerton recapped his three years at the helm of municipal operations during Thursday’s Manteca City Council meeting. The 51-year-old starts next month as the city manager of Davis in Yolo County west of Sacramento.

          Pinkerton had nothing but praise for municipal employees and his five bosses on the City Council.

          He said Manteca’s remaining 342 workers have stepped up in such a manner that he doubts there is another jurisdiction in the state that can compare with their efforts. Not only did city workers take on extra work as staff was reduced due to declining revenue, but they also took compensation cuts ranging from 19 to 23 percent. Pinkerton added that municipal workers have still managed to keep service levels up despite the cutbacks.

          The city manager praised the council for “staying focused” by not letting differing opinions undermine efforts to move the city forward. Pinkerton noted that the council members have had strong differences of opinion but have set aside differences once a vote is taken.

          As a result he believes Manteca is better positioned to weather the rest of the recession as well as to take advantage of the next economic upswing compared to most other jurisdictions.

          He said Manteca’s elected leaders acted decisively and fairly quickly when it became clear the recession was underway.

          “All you have to do is look 10 miles to the north to see what happens when you are still in denial,” Pinkerton said.

          Pinkerton was referring to Stockton delaying addressing personnel and compensation until recently. As a result, they were not able to compound savings over several years to reduce the size of the financial hit the city has to take.

          Among the accomplishments of city staff and council over the past three years that Pinkerton noted included:

          • helping keep one of the city’s biggest sales tax collectors – BR Funsten – from relocating to Stockton.

          • making sure Hampton Inn was able to build.

          • the new animal shelter under construction.

          • the new vehicle maintenance facility that is breaking ground this fall.

          • the transit station breaking ground later this year at Moffat Boulevard and South Main Street.

          Pinkerton said it was the efforts of city workers and the council that allowed Manteca to have “60 percent of all new construction activity in San Joaquin County” take place within Manteca’s city limits.

          Assistant City Manager Karen McLaughlin has been tapped by the council to replace Pinkerton.

          She has served under three city managers – Pinkerton, Bob Adams and Dave Jinkens.

      1. SouthofDavis


        Any idea what kind of pension California is going to pay him when he moves to Nevada?

        In California you need to move to a “non PERS” city to “double dip” so many public employees (like some firefighters I know) take their $10K a MONTH pension at 50 then move to Nevada and take another fire job (often bringing to Nevada what they have learned about “working” with elected officials to get big fire department raises) so they can get a second pension from Nevada when they “retire again” at 65.

        1. Rich Rifkin

          South, his pension will start around $135k per year.

          I don’t know how many years he has been employed in the CalPERS system. Perhaps David knows. But if he is 54 and he has worked 30 years in a PERS agency (like Davis, Stockton, etc.), his “2.5%@55” pension will begin at $135,360 = 2.4% x 30 years x $188,000 (his current base salary).

          Because Nevada has no state income tax, his after-tax salary and after-tax pension income will be about double what he is taking home in Davis. I don’t think money is the only factor which drove his decision. However, I think it likely was a big factor. I would also imagine that he figured, if he stuck around Davis for 5-6 more years, other cities, such as Incline Village, would be far less interested in hiring him, due to his advanced age. So, since he lacks some job security in Davis due to the views of the Wolk-Frerichs-Weist faction, he must have figured now was the best time to go. If he stayed and then was terminated by them, he might not get such a good opportunity again.

          1. hpierce

            Plus, appears he and family will partake of at least 50% medical until he turns 60, when it will go to 100%. Over 300k, plus significant medical. As they say on the video poker sites, “VNH”. Brass ring has been grasped, after about 2.5 years.

  5. SouthofDavis

    Maybe he decided to leave California before anyone found out his Mom voted for Nixon:

    “Midge Pinkerton remembers that November day well. She was living in Madison, Wisconsin, with her husband James Pinkerton (later a professor at the University of Missouri for 33 years) who was working on his sociology degree. Midge Pinkerton had a job in the university library and was at lunch at the time of Kennedy’s death.

    “Mrs. Harold came in and said, ‘Guess what? President Kennedy’s been shot,’” Midge Pinkerton said, “They closed the whole university library down.”

    She went to pick up her son Steve, who was four, from his babysitter’s house. “They killed the President and shot him too!” He told his mother.

    “All of us felt so badly about Kennedy’s death,” Midge Pinkerton said. At the time, I hadn’t voted for Kennedy. I didn’t become a Democrat until 1966.””

    – See more at:

    1. Mr. Toad

      Isn’t it amazing. Those that don’t like him want to rudely hand him his hat and many that do like him want to rudely blame others they don’t like without saying what some of those others have done to justify their ire beyond mere speculations. I am an exception. While I am sad that Pinkerton is leaving I’m willing to take him at his word that its all about Incline instead of anything in Davis. After all, if what some are saying, that he can collect his California pension while making $175,000 a year living at Lake Tahoe he should profusely thank whoever ran him out of town. If they are wrong and he only gets the $175,000 and has to live up there in exile from our upside down Davis budget and endless debate about no brainer ideas like Cannery, water, an innovation business park and Nishi perhaps the detractors might start to wonder about their own hand in his departure. Imagine, poor Pinkerton forced to spend the next three winters up there in the snow like some poor Donner. Not, he will be playing golf and skiing Incline as soon as it rains while it will be back here in Davis where people will still be eating their own.

      1. iPad Guy

        Indeed, Steve Pinkerton is a blessed man. Your options accurately portray two prospects that would appeal to most of us. He might miss Davis, but he always can visit without having to put up with us.

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