Toby Wells has once again left a city manager position in the Valley, this time in Manteca.
Wells resigned his post on Feb. 8 as the Manteca City Manager after only 145 days on the job.
Wells’ last job as city manager was in Turlock where he was that city’s sixth either permanent or interim city manager since 2015 when he was hired in March of 2020. Eight months later, after a new Turlock council was elected, friction developed between Wells and three council members prompting him to be placed on paid administrative leave. In May 2021, the Turlock City Council approved a settlement agreement with Wells.
Wells was awarded a lump sum of $55,000 to be paid by the City in addition to his wages and any accrued and unused leave payments through June 11. The City also paid to continue health and dental insurance for Wells and his spouse through September 2021 at the cost of $1,953 per month, according to the settlement agreement released by the City through a public records request from the Journal.
According to the agreement, the City believed it had sufficient cause to fire Wells following an investigation, while Wells disagreed that he was subject to termination “with cause” and denied any and all allegations. The employment contract signed by Wells when he was hired stated that if he was fired without cause, the City would have to pay him eight months of severance, or over $146,000.
Wells and the City reached an agreement because they wished “to resolve all matters among them concerning employee’s (Wells’) separation from employment,” the document reads, and the settlement includes a list of promises both parties signed their names to. One item on the list is that Wells waived his right to a “name-clearing” hearing, which he was originally entitled to under his employment contract should he end up being terminated without cause.
The settlement agreement was approved by the City Council in a split 3-2 vote during a closed session meeting on May 25 after Mayor Amy Bublak, Vice Mayor Pam Franco and Councilwoman Rebecka Monez voted in favor of the separation settlement, with Councilmembers Andrew Nosrati and Nicole Larson dissenting.
Wells, who worked for the city of Modesto as an engineer before Manteca gave him a three-year contract starting at $230,000 annually, worked for six years as city manager of Ceres. Wells — when he was hired — was Manteca’s sixth city manager in six years.
— Dennis Wyatt and Angelina Martin contributed to this report.