On Monday, when the Bishop City Council agreed to pay David Buckingham $38,000 to avoid litigation over the City Administrator’s job, Buckingham was accepting another job as City Manager of Morro Bay. He was one of 50 applicants for the position and the number one choice.
As we have reported, sources confirmed that Buckingham signed a contract offered by the Bishop City Council to take the job as City Administrator here. Reports said the Council later withdrew their offer with no public explanation. Buckingham claimed damages. The City Council agreed to pay him $38,000 to avoid litigation.
The Morro Bay City Council voted unanimously for Buckingham to fill their City Manager job effective September 29th. A press release from that City says Buckingham passed a comprehensive vetting process, including interviews by citizens and the City Council. The release says Buckingham’s final job for the military in his 25-year career was Director of Environmental Services at the Pentagon.
Buckingham’s command in Italy drew attention in Morro Bay as it did in Bishop. While the command included many tasks similar to a city manager, there was some controversy over his treatment of a military police officer. In the San Luis Obispo Tribune, Buckingham is quoted as saying that he lost his temper and used profanity during a fourth of July incident in which an officer failed to follow orders to open a gate that was blocking traffic at the crowded celebration.
Credible sources in Bishop said that the Bishop City Council had this same information before offering Buckingham a contract as City Administrator. The Tribune quoted Buckingham on the Italy situation as saying, “It was not poor management because of the actions that I had to take to hold a few people accountable.”
The Interim City Manager of Morro Bay was also quoted as saying he spoke with two three-star generals who endorsed Buckingham “100 percent.”
Buckingham will make more money in Morro Bay than he would have in Bishop. His salary is $160,000 plus benefits. His contract is expected to be ratified August 26th – around the same time Jim Tatum will go to work in Bishop as the new City Administrator.