Now that the City of Twentynine Palms has fired its city manager, what is the city’s next move? Reporter Dan Stork reports that there will be a meeting Monday night, and also describes Guzzetta’s reaction and financial settlement…
In the wake of the surprise firing of City Manager Joe Guzzetta by the Twentynine Palms City Council Tuesday night, the City issued a press release stating what was reported on Z107.7 yesterday: “The Council decided it wanted to go in a new direction and hence voted 5-0 to place the City Manager on paid administrative leave until Thursday, May 15 which will be his last day. The Council thanks Mr. Guzzetta for his services and wishes him well in his future endeavors. The Council appointed the City’s Finance Director, Ron Peck, to serve as acting City Manager while it explores its options.” The press release added that Council “adjourned to a regular adjourned meeting on Monday, May 19, at 5 p.m. at City Hall, at which time it will discuss the appointment of an interim City Manager and possibly executing a related agreement.” Mayor Dan Mintz declined to add anything to the official press release at this time, and emphasized that the May 19 meeting is NOT a special meeting, but is a continuation of the adjourned May 13 meeting. Mintz also told Z107.7 that Guzzetta’s contract calls for 3 months’ severance pay, and no insurance coverage, in the event of termination. When Guzzetta’s employment contract was approved by the City Council, just one year ago, Guzzetta said that he doubted whether any other prospective city managers would accept the limited severance provisions that he had agreed to, adding “I have a passion for cities. I have felt a very good relationship with the Council in the interviews. I think we can work together very well.” Shortly after midnight Wednesday, shortly after the decision was made to fire him, Guzzetta emailed his own press release, referring to himself in the third person, and quoted himself as saying that the termination came as a complete surprise to him. In that release, he went on to review what he accomplished during his year as City Manager, and to express his enjoyment in working with many elements of the Twentynine Palms community. He also noted that Wednesday was his 37th wedding anniversary.

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