The city of Belmont has named Greg Scoles to be its next city manager.

Scoles has been the deputy city manager in Santa Rosa since 2003 and replaces Jack Crist, who retired from Belmont earlier this year.

For months, the city has been led by department heads, including Finance Director Thomas Fil, Police Chief Don Mattei and Community Development Director Carlos De Melo.

Scoles will make $199,000 a year and will be given up to $10,000 to relocate.

He will also be given a substantial housing allowance.

"In recognition of the high cost of housing in the Belmont area, employer agrees to pay employee $2,500 a month,” according to the employment agreement.

Scoles was hired by the city just as it finally adopted its fiscal-year 2010-11 budget last night, two weeks late. Belmont has an ongoing $1.3 million structural deficit.

He officially starts his new job Sept. 1.

"I look forward to coming to Belmont,” Scoles told the Daily Journal last night. "It has a great council and a high-caliber city staff that is committed to the city.”

To bridge its deficit, Belmont asked its employees to make wage concessions of about $455,000, which led to several closed sessions with labor negotiators over the course of several weeks.

The council passed the budget 4-0 with Councilman Warren Lieberman absent from last night’s meeting. The city, however, is still seeking concessions from one of four labor groups and hopes to have an agreement in place by the end of the month.

Scoles was recently passed over for the interim city manager job in Santa Rosa. Jeff Kolin, Santa Rosa’s former city manager left the city in January to become the Beverly Hills city manager. The Santa Rosa City Council named a former advanced planning director to be interim city manager over Scoles.

Before being named deputy city manager, he served as public works director in Santa Rosa.

Scoles served as the city administrator in Ashland, Ore.; community development director in Newberg, Ore.; vice president and regional manager for Majors Engineering, San Ramon; planning and building director in Tiburon; city planner in Pinole; planning director in The Dalles, Ore.; and administrative assistant in Los Alamitos.

He has a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Southern California and a bachelor of arts degree from California State University, Long Beach.

Going forward, it will be Scoles who negotiates with labor units over contracts. All department heads will report to Scoles.

"We have a lot of issues,” Mayor Christine Wozniak said. "That’s one reason we picked him. To help us solve our budget.”

He also joins the city as it is about to dissolve a partnership with San Carlos for fire services.

The Belmont City Council first got a budget presented to it May 22 and was set to adopt it June 8. The vote got pushed back to June 22 and then June 29 and then to last night.

The city’s appropriations limit is $12.5 million. Its base revenue budget for fiscal year 2010-11 is roughly $58 million, which includes the Belmont Fire Protection District, Redevelopment Agency debt service and the city’s sewer enterprise fund. The Capital Improvement Program budget is $23.5 million and the city will maintain permanent staffing at 131.65 full-time equivalents.

Sales and use tax in the city is down by more than $663,000 and the hotel tax is down by more than $291,000, comprising most of Belmont’s general fund revenue shortfall.

Belmont’s reserve is dwindling rapidly, down nearly $1.5 million from just two years ago when it was $4 million. The reserve is projected to dip just below the $2 million mark by 2014.

Scoles leaves behind a city, Santa Rosa, that has cut 200 employees in two years and has seen its general fund shrink from $140 million to $115 million. Santa Rosa’s overall budget is $315 million and has a staff of 1,400 employees.

Scoles, 55, is married to Carol and has three adult children.

Bill Silverfarb can be reached by e-mail: silverfarb@smdailyjournal.com or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 106.

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