Fired Santa Clara City Manager Deanna Santana Will Collect Six-Figure Severance Package

The former Santa Clara city manager, who was fired by the city council last month after a tough five-year term, will continue to be paid six-figure compensation for another year and the right to sue the city over his dismissal. have forgiven The lawyer said on Wednesday.

Santana, who was paid $765,152 in salaries and benefits in 2020, was the second highest-paid city manager in California.

Santana will receive the severance package outlined in his 2017 employment contract with the city, which says he will be paid 12 months of total compensation and 12 months of benefits, either over a year or in a lump sum, according to his attorney. , Alison Berry Wilkinson. She said that Santana has opted to pay his severance over the next 12 months.

City officials did not receive the expected severance Santana, and city spokesman Lon Peterson deferred to council attorney Gary Baum. Baum declined to comment until the deal was signed by both sides.

However, in 2020, the former city manager earned $765,152 in total compensation – the second highest in the state behind only Fontana’s city manager. Over the years, Santana has defended his salary, citing his management experience with the cities of Oakland, Sunnyvale and San Jose.

Santana’s five-year stint in the city was marred by controversy over his large compensation package and a public feud with the San Francisco 49ers over the management of Levi’s stadium.

And, on February 24, the council voted 4–2 – dissenting from Mayor Lisa Gilmore and council member Kathy Watanabe and Vice Mayor Sud Zain absent – to fire Santana, citing “lack of confidence in his ability to do his job”. ” with citing a reference.

Santana’s dismissal has left Santa Clara without its top executives after the council last fired the city attorney. The city is already seeing the impact of the decision as the council was forced to delay its priority session this month.

“I’ve been in public office for several decades,” Gilmour previously told Mercury News. “No city council has ever vandalized City Hall and put our residents in danger without management at City Hall.”

The council has been unable to appoint an interim city manager or lawyer in the past month.

Several weeks before the vote, some council members expressed their desire to renegotiate his salary. Council members Anthony Baker, Kevin Park, and Jan met with members of the 49ers’ front office in January about “Santana ethical concerns,” “Santana CEO title concerns,” “Santana email snooping concerns,” “Dina’s luxury home.” Topics including ” were discussed. “Dina’s salary,” according to the council members’ public calendar.

He has denied that the 49ers had any involvement in his termination. The three council members meet with the team regularly and the 2020 election was supported by a political action committee, which received a $3 million donation from 49ers CEO Jed York.

According to the City Charter, after the vote to sack him, Santana had 15 to 30 days to respond in writing or request a public hearing about his termination. Santana has not previously responded to requests for comment about his salary, and has spoken through his attorney during the termination process.

Berry Wilkinson told this news organization, “She was elected to severance in protest of a council hearing, so she signed the release agreement, notifying that she was calling for severance.”

The council authorized the severance agreement in a closed session on Tuesday night, Gilmour announced.

In December, Santana received a cost of living adjustment that raised her annual base salary to $468,674.97, making it possible that her severance pay would exceed her 2020 salary and benefits.

Accepting the severance package also means that Santana has waived his right to bring a claim against the city, his lawyer said – unlike his former colleague Brian Doyle.

Doyle was fired from his position as city attorney by council last September and has since filed claims with the city over wrongful termination, breach of contract and retaliatory discharge.

Before being hired by Santa Clara, Santana served more than three years as City Manager of Sunnyvale and three years as City Administrator of Oakland.

Her time at the helm of the city of Oakland was also a controversial one as she regularly clashed with politicians and unionists. He was eventually fired in 2014 after considering city manager jobs in Dallas and Phoenix.

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