By Anthony Victoria
After being placed on leave for over two months, Stephen Compton was officially removed from his position as city manager during a special meeting on Thursday August 2.
Councilmember David Toro made the official motion to support a formal resolution to fire Compton, followed by a second by councilmember Isaac Suchil Reading a prepared statement, Zamora said: ““The City Council has concluded that it is in the city’s best interest to pursue a different direction with a new city manager.”
Compton, 60, was placed on paid administrative leave on June 5–just as he was beginning to investigate financial problems occurring in the city. One of those issues was brought up during the special meeting that prompted the city council to put into consideration creating an in-depth audit.
A workplace investigator brought on to investigate Compton announced on August 4 and found out that Compton had approved $23,000 over his $25,000 limit in contracts, hiring temporary employees without following proper procedures.
Compton has denied any wrongdoing, expressing that mitigating factors required him to hire outside assistance to investigate financial problems in the city. He is entitled to $64,000, or four months of base pay in severance, according to the terms of his employment contract with the city.
Toro was surprised Compton had hired temporary workers without following procedures and wanted further inquiry. He said he was not surprised by the overspending because Compton had previously informed them about that. Councilmember Frank A. Gonzales said the findings were serious.
“There’s no excuse for this. It’s serious,” he said. “The results of the investigation speak for themselves.”
The former city manager has a long-running
background in finance. Before coming to Colton, Compton served as interim accounting manager for Fountain Valley, as the director of finance for Omnitrans, and has his own consulting firm that specializes in helping non-profit organizations.
In addition, to further complicate city’s difficult situation is the departure of finance manager, Jessica Hurst, who will be leaving on September 2 to take the deputy city manager/administrative services job in Hemet.