The Mountain View City Council cleared the way this week for its retiring assistant community development director/economic development manager to remain on the job a few more months by declaring his position as "critically needed."
The move is intended to ensure compliance with upcoming pension reforms outlined in AB 340.
Ellis Berns, who currently holds the position, will retire Dec. 29 after a 21-year career in public service. The position is one of two that comprise the city's economic development division.
The city wants Berns to continue working on a temporary basis because the business development specialist that makes up the other half of the division is on leave and won't return until April.
Meanwhile, the search for Berns' replacement is expected to take several months. The position likely won't be filled until March.
In a report to council members, Assistant City Manager Melissa Stevenson Dile said no other city staff members had the expertise to fill Berns' shoes. The assistant community development director/economic development manager is "critical to the city's economic vitality and business attraction efforts," she wrote.
"I'm not a big fan of doing this, but economic development doesn't get any more important," Council Member Laura Macias said Tuesday night.
"Since we have a gap right now and we have an incredibly able assistant community development manager/economic development manager, I definitely think this is worth doing."
The city council voted unanimously to temporarily rehire Berns and declare his position as "critically needed." The latter was necessary due to confusion over whether AB 340 would apply to Berns' case, Dile said, though the city received new information this week that it would not.
Starting Jan. 1, nonpublic safety annuitants must wait 180 days after retiring before being re-employed by a CalPERS contracting agency unless the governing body of that agency determines the employment of the annuitant is necessary to fill a critically needed position, according to Dile's report.
Berns will receive his pension and other retirement benefits, but they won't be boosted by his temporary employment, Dile told the city council. Altogether, the city expects to pay him $29,000 between January and April.