State

'Concerns' about city manager get Patterson council into talks

Another city manager in Stanislaus County could be in trouble.

Patterson City Council members held a special closed-door session Tuesday to discuss City Manager Cleve Morris, a day after Hughson leaders voted 3-2 to dismiss their city manager.

Patterson's posted meeting notice included Morris' title and the words "evaluation/potential action."

"The council members deliberated," Mayor Becky Campo said Wednesday. "Next time, we'll have the city manager come in so we can voice concerns with him."

That follow-up meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday. It will be held behind closed doors because the subject matter is a personnel issue, Campo said.

The mayor acknowledged the coincidence in timing, on the heels of Joseph Donabed's termination in Hughson. But Campo said she alerted council members about her concerns several meetings ago and only recently gathered relevant information to bring the matter to a head Monday.

Campo refused to elaborate.

Morris could not be reached for comment.

He earned $125,022 in 2008. His contract guarantees him a minimum of six months' salary in severance pay, plus unused vacation, holidays and executive leave.

Morris came to Patterson six years ago, besting a field of 35 other candidates. He had resigned two months earlier as city manager of Newman, a few miles down Highway 33, and previously was assistant to the city manager of Lathrop.

Under Morris' leadership, Patterson has grown from 14,221 people to an estimated 21,168 in January — a far greater rate than any of the county's eight other cities.

Bee staff writer Garth Stapley can be reached at gstapley@modbee.com or 578-2390.

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