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Council to Vote on New City Attorney's Salary

City staff is recommending that the total compensation for City Attorney David Benoun be $17,048.

Newark has a new city attorney, but city council has yet to vote on how much he will be paid.

is scheduled to vote on newly hired City Attorney David Benoun’s salary at Thursday’s regular council meeting.

Benoun, who was appointed to his current position in September, replaces former City Attorney Gary Galliano, who retired on May 1.

According to the council meeting agenda, city staff is recommending that Benoun be granted $17,048 in total compensation each month.

It’s noted in the agenda that “total compensation means that the employee, not the employer, is required to pay for all benefits for themselves and their dependents.” Those benefits include, medical and dental as well as disability, according to the agenda.

The total of $17,048 is broken down as follows:

  • A monthly base salary of $15,500
  • A deferred compensation of $930
  • A vehicle allowance of $400
  • A life insurance premium contribution of $6
  • A health and welfare payment of $100
  • A required $112 contribution toward the CalPERS Health Benefits Program

The City of Newark will also contribute approximately $1,000 each year toward courses and memberships that are relevant for Benoun’s skills, such as his California State Bar License and Alameda County Bar Association membership.

Benoun is also being given 56 hours of management leave, according to the agenda.

The proposed compensation was determined after staff members compared salaries of city attorneys in the cities of Fremont, Hayward, Milpitas, Pleasanton, Livermore and Redwood City, which all pay their city attorneys at higher rates, according to the council agenda.

According to city documents, Galliano’s total gross wages was $115,344 in the 2011-12 fiscal year. City Manager John Becker said for the past few years Galliano had been working for the City of Newark on a part-time basis and noted that during that time, the city also used outside legal services.

Also at Thursday’s council meeting:

  • A presentation will be given by Alameda County Board District 2 Supervisor Richard Valle about issues that have been impacting District 2, which includes the cities of Newark, Union City, Hayward and Fremont.
  • Steve Novak will be introduced to the city council as a newly hired public works general laborer.
  • A schedule vote on whether to allow for the purchase of upgraded equipment for the Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning System at the Silliman Activity Center is included in the consent agenda. The cost is $12,000 and would be funded under the Citywide Building Upgrades project within the adopted 2012-13 biennial budget.

The council meets at 7:30 p.m. in City Chambers on the sixth floor of City Hall, 37101 Newark Blvd. For more information, view the agenda above or click here to download the agen               da.

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Margaret Lewis September 13, 2012 at 03:57 PM
Will Mr. Benoun also be a part-time city attorney? Since he currently specializes in family law and estate planning will the city pay for him to attending classes in municipal and land use law? Why did the city not advertise for an attorney who actually deals in municipal law as the former city attorney did? Is Newark in need of a family law attorney for city business?
Lisa Kphotoalbums September 13, 2012 at 07:33 PM
Maybe that is why they are paying him to attend classes, Margaret?
Margaret Lewis September 13, 2012 at 08:56 PM
State bar license fees and Alameda county bar association fees take up the bulk of the $1,000. Newark is in the process of updating its general plan; looking at alternatives for the mall and plans for several large developments throughout the city. Doesn't this call for a city attorney who is experienced in land use and municipal law? I would say Yes. Instead we are getting an attorney friend of council members whose expertise is in estate planning and family law. Not what Newark needs.
Nadja Adolf September 13, 2012 at 10:53 PM
Here's the problem with hiring an individual who specializes in estate planning and family law. The city government doesn't involve those areas of law; and sending an attorney trained in those areas to take classes to learn the actual areas of law he will need for the job is an expense we don't need - doubly so since while he is "learning on the job", any mistakes could have serious impacts in both finances and quality of life. Regular Old Newark Cronyism - the job goes to a friend of the bureaucrats regardless of competence, just like all of those no-bid proposed Redevelopment projects.

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