Bill Rawlings Leaves as Menifee City Manager; City Council Names Staff Member Rob Johnson Interim Replacement

BILL RAWLINGS The first change in Menifee city government since the Nov. 6 election was made Tuesday...

The first change in Menifee city government since the Nov. 6 election was made Tuesday night -- a full two weeks before two new city council members are sworn in.

Coming out of a city council closed session lasting more than an hour, city officials announced a separation agreement under which Bill Rawlings will leave his position of city manager. Rawlings' official departure date is Nov. 30, but he was not at Tuesday night's meeting and his interim replacement has already been named.

Rob Johnson, currently serving as the city's senior manager of community improvement and outreach, was appointed by a 5-0 council vote as acting city manager, effective immediately. Johnson's future in that role will be determined by the new city council, which will be formed Dec. 4, when newly elected Mayor Scott Mann and new council member Greg August join returning council members John Denver, Tom Fuhrman and Wallace Edgerton.

Denver, the outgoing mayor, would not comment about the specifics of Rawlings' departure. Council and city staff members face a fine of $2,000 for violation of a non-disparagement agreement reached between the parties.

Although neither Denver nor Johnson would comment on whether Rawlings resigned or was fired, Denver did say Rawlings initiated the process.

In the past, three of the five city council members -- Denver, Darcy Kuenzi and Sue Kristjansson -- have been vocal in their support of Rawlings and the direction the city was taking. Even so, the council's 4-0 vote to approve the separation agreement -- with Kuenzi abstaining -- was a clear indication of the council's decision to support, in the wording of the city press release, a decision "mutually agreed is in the best interest of Mr. Rawlings and the city."

Johnson said he has not spoken to Rawlings since the decision was reached and would not speculate on Rawlings' reasons for wanting to leave.

"I love this community and I'm here to serve it," said Johnson, 43. "I'm committed to doing the best I can. I'm acting city manager beginning tomorrow, and the main goal is to keep communication with the public open."

According to the separation agreement, Rawlings will receive a severance payment of $183,667 -- the equivalent of 11 months' salary -- plus a merit payment of $9,500 representing a "satisfactory performance evaluation." He will also receive full-time employment and health benefits for up to six months and is eligible to apply for unemployment.

Rawlings had served as city manager since January of 2011. Previously, he was director of housing and redevelopment for the City of Vista. Johnson, 43, has been with the City of Menifee since September 2009. Prior to that, he worked for the cities of Corona, Murrieta and Oceanside.


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  1. nice severance package...last time i "quit" a job, they didn't give me anything.

  2. Who gets a severance package like that, from a little town like this. There are a whole lot of things that could be done with that money.

  3. This is the first of what will be many ill effects of the incoming new City Council members. Greg August, being a key figure in the "Pica Machine", and now a Council member, hey I don't blame Rawlings for avoiding the impending nightmare. I would have been ugly.

    1. I agree it would have been ugly,but it would have allowed the public to see their true colors

  4. I do not think there is anything wrong with the severance package given to Bill Rawlings because this is a very common occurrence when upper management people are let go or resign from his/her position. I would like to see our city council hire a person who lives in Menifee to the position of city manager if s/he is qualified to fill that slot. In closing, I feel confident in Rob Johnson’s ability to take up the city manager’s position and this will give him a chance to show us what he can do for our city of Menifee.

    1. Do you really think they will leave him in place long enough to do any good?

  5. When you take a position like this you are aware of changes that can and will happen.
    You don't decide to move on and expect a reward or payoff for doing so unless the new playmates don’t like you.
    Don’t we all wish we could get a nice 200k parting gift, keep our benefits and collect unemployment when we leave a job we asked for. Well sounds like Kuenzi was trying to save Menifee some big bucks for an un-finished commitment to the city. The new improved counsel just wants to get along “as long as it is with their minions" whatever the cost, it's on the city’s dime. Wait until reality and fact come to light for Mr. August, he will feed Ms. Pica. Eyes will be opened and stooped Menifee gets to pay for it.



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