The plot thickened in Yorba Linda last week with open warfare on the City Council. The mayor called for the recall of two council members over a budgetary dispute. The Internal Revenue Service has begun looking into executive bonuses. The city engineer has demanded that the city give back about $25,000 in benefits that were revoked. All this is arising from city efforts to get to the bottom of a mess that clearly got away, even as affected managers assert they did nothing wrong.
The city must come up with a credible new way of overseeing managerial compensation, the issue at the heart of the dispute. A bare majority of the council dismissed former City Manager Arthur C. Simonian over this. But the public has to wonder: What about his troubling assertion that compensation was approved consistently by the council and never questioned? The fact that two members of the council supported Simonian indicates that there is a question whether council members fully understood or agreed on the contract terms of the county's longest-serving city manager.