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Ousted City Manager to Stay Until July 1

February 01, 1990|CAROL WATSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Less than two months after the bitterly divided Oxnard City Council ousted City Manager David Mora, the council has voted unanimously to postpone his departure.

Mora, originally set to leave on April 1, will stay until July 1--partly to help find a successor.

"I have indicated to the council that I am willing to stay until July 1," Mora said. "I am not interested in any permanent reinstatement."

In December, Mora was forced to submit his resignation by Councilwomen Ann Johs, Geraldine (Gerry) Furr and Dorothy Maron.

The action prompted a group of Oxnard residents to launch a recall effort, charging that the council members had acted with hidden political agendas or racial prejudice in firing the Latino city manager. The citizens, who are expected to file recall papers in the next two weeks, repeatedly have asked the council members to explain why Mora was dismissed.

Maron has alluded to concerns that Mora made unwise development deals.

The council's 5-0 vote to retain Mora occurred at a closed session last week.

Mora was asked to stay to oversee the 1989-90 fiscal year, which ends June 30, Councilman Manuel Lopez said.

"We're all in agreement that it's a very difficult financial time for the city and we need help," Lopez said.

Mora will help plan next year's budget, review the General Plan, recruit a new city manager and participate in a full-scale management audit.

The audit began Monday, after council members voted 3 to 0 to award the audit contract to Cresap, the highest bidder, for $56,640. Cresap, which is based in Washington, D.C., and has a local office.

Maron and Mayor Nao Takasugi were absent.

The audit will review revenue and expense projections for the next five years. It also will identify revenue sources, Lopez said.

The first phase's completion is due by Feb. 27, the last date available to put a tax measure on the June ballot.

Mora's dismissal followed a series of city budget problems. He disclosed last fall that revenue estimates for the 1988-89 fiscal year were about $2 million too high and that the city had spent $850,000 over its budget.

The ensuing $1 million in cuts reduced department budgets and eliminated 15 city jobs.

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