The Downtown Stockton Alliance Board of Directors has appointed former Turlock City Manager Timothy L. Kerr as Executive Director of the Downtown Stockton Alliance (DSA) effective May 3, 2010.
Kerr recently retired from a thirty year career in local government where he held a wide variety of management and executive positions. For much of the last eighteen years he served as City Manager in communities in close proximity to Stockton, most recently in Turlock.
Kerr was actually fired from his most recent government position as Turlock City Manager Former on January 13, 2009 by a 3-2 council vote in a closed session meeting. No official reported reason was ever given for Kerr’s firing.
On April 2, 2009, Tim Kerr filed a claim against the City of Turlock in the amount of $49,583.78.
Kerr’s claim states the City breached his employment agreement, specifically City Attorney Phaedra Norton’s refusal to authorize payment of his retirement contribution at the time his severance was paid.
While Tim Kerr and the City of Turlock are still in litigation over Kerr’s claim of benefit payment included in his severance package, the City of Turlock filed a Cross Complaint against Tim Kerr in March 2010.
The City’s court document explains their reasons for firing Tim Kerr based on Kerr’s alleged breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty.
Specific allegations include Tim Kerr’s failure to ensure repayment and collect a 2007 Council authorized $90,000 loan to the Turlock Centennial Committee as directed and furthermore that Kerr authorized the committee to divert community donations to be used for purposes other than repayment of the City’s loan.
A second allegation listed in the Cross Complaint alleges that Kerr was authorized to execute only contracts approved by the City Council but nevertheless executed employment contracts with employees Sydnee D. Alyster and Charlie Woods. Both contracts resulted in significant payments of salary and benefits by the City after they were no longer employed by the City of Turlock.
Other allegations of not fulfilling fiduciary obligations included in Kerr’s contract involve extending salary and benefits to the Executive Assistant to the City Manager/City Clerk, a City Employee, and one of Kerr’s direct reports, above and beyond the maximum provided for in the compensation plan authorized by the Council and required by Resolution.
Another personnel matter alleges that Kerr hired four employees into the competitive service, without approval of the City Council, and without complying with the hiring process required by the Turlock Municipal Code. The alleged failure of Kerr’s contractual and fiduciary obligations while filling four positions (City Manager/Assistant, Assistant to City Manager/Economic Development/Redevelopment, and Support Services Supervisor) includes failure in publishing or posting of notices of tests for positions in the competitive service; the receiving of applications therefore; the conducting and grading of tests; and the certification to the appointing power of a list of all persons eligible for appointment to the appropriate position in the competitive service.
In addition to the other two personnel issues, Kerr is alleged of going against Councils’ “clear directive” of a hiring freeze when Kerr authorized and permitted to fill 8 firefighter positions.
Despite the multiple allegations and pending litigation, the DSA felt that Kerr was the best person for the job and DSA Board Chairman Steve Stevenson explained why.
“His extensive experience in budgeting, redevelopment, community development, organizational development and community outreach will certainly benefit the organization. His experience in economic development will be particularly beneficial during these challenging economic times and help position us to take advantage of opportunities as the economy improves,” said Board Chairman Steve Stevenson.
The DSA announced through a press release that Kerr will be tasked with meeting the mission of the Downtown Stockton Alliance, a non profit organization; to develop, promote and maintain historic Downtown Stockton as a regional business, cultural, and entertainment destination.