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Kerr to head Stockton Downtown Alliance

Lawsuit against former city manager still pending

POSTED April 30, 2010 11:09 p.m.

Embattled former Turlock city manager Tim Kerr has been appointed executive director of the Downtown Stockton Alliance.

Kerr’s contract with the City of Turlock was terminated on Jan. 13, 2009 during a regularly scheduled performance review.

Kerr filed a claim against the City of Turlock on April 2, 2009, alleging the city owed him $49,583.78 in an unpaid retirement benefit contribution. Kerr’s suit states that City Attorney Phaedra Norton refused to authorize payment of the retirement contribution at the time of his severance, as stipulated in his employment contract.

The City of Turlock filed a countersuit in March alleging that Kerr breached his employment contract. The suit argues that Kerr regularly failed to work a 40 hour workweek, gave explicit instructions to the Turlock Centennial Committee to not repay a city loan of $90,000, and hired eight new firefighters when Council had ordered a hiring freeze in the city. The suit also claims that Kerr designated higher starting pay rates for four new employees than the City’s approved compensation plan allows, didn’t follow the proper bidding process for city contract jobs, and kept former city employees on the payroll for longer than approved.

According to a Stockton Record report, Steve Stevenson, chairman of the alliance's board of directors, thoroughly vetted Kerr prior to his hiring.

"We felt very comfortable with his explanation of those circumstances," Stevenson told the Record.

In his new post, Kerr will be tasked with developing, promoting, and maintaining historic Downtown Stockton as a regional business, cultural, and entertainment destination, according to the Downtown Stockton Alliance.

“His extensive experience in budgeting, redevelopment, community development, organizational development and community outreach will certainly benefit the organization,” said Stevenson in a press release. “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.”

Kerr will begin his new post on Monday.

To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail acantatore@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.

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