Upland seal

By Liset Márquez, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Posted: 07/27/16 – 11:30 AM PDT |

UPLAND >> In an unexpected turn, the Upland City Council terminated City Manager Rod Butler effective Aug. 29, the city attorney announced Wednesday.

Richard Adams made the announcement after the council met behind closed doors. The special meeting was called under the guise of dismissing a public employee, although the targeted employee was not named.

Adams also announced Butler was placed on administrative leave through the termination date. Council members Glenn Bozar and Carol Timm were opposed to the firing.

The council also authorized Adams to negotiate a separation agreement with Butler.

Former Police Chief Martin Thouvenell was appointed interim city manager with a 4-1 vote; Bozar was opposed to the move.

Jeanette Vagnozzi, deputy city manager, will serve in the interim while Thouvenell’s terms of employment are finalized, Adams said.

Following the meeting, Timm said she was instructed not to comment.

“Mayor Ray Musser and members of the City Council are not at liberty to discuss Butler’s departure because it is a confidential personnel matter,” according to a statement from the city.

Butler began his tenure in September 2014 and was signed for a three-year term with a base salary of $189,629 annually and the possibility of extensions.

There has been no visible divide between Butler and members of the council. A couple of months ago, Butler accepted fault for a controversy surrounding a proposal to remove trees along Euclid Avenue.

But the city manager has kept a low profile at council meetings, seldom speaking.

At Wednesday’s special meeting, several city employees and a few residents were in attendance. Among them was resident Eric Gavin, who found fault with the council’s decision. Gavin, a frequent council critic, said he found Butler always responsive and transparent.

“If I was divorced four times, I’d need to start thinking I was the problem and not them,” he said.

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