San Luis Obispo City Clerk Anthony J. Mejia is leaving the area next month to take a job as chief deputy city clerk for the city of South Pasadena.
Mejia said his last day in San Luis Obispo is tentatively set for Oct. 9, since the background check process with his new employer is still ongoing. Once that process is complete, he expects to start work Oct. 12 in South Pasadena, a city of about 25,000 people located six miles from downtown Los Angeles.
Mejia has led the city clerk’s office in San Luis Obispo for two years. He said his spouse has continued to live in Southern California while he’s been on the Central Coast, prompting one of them to travel every weekend.
“If I could stay here for another 10 years I would,” Mejia said, “but the last two years has been difficult due to travel. I thought I would be able to adjust to the trailing spouse issue, but it’s been hard.
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“I’ve really enjoyed working with this council,” he added. “It’s a great community — really involved — and a great city manager.”
Mejia is the only management-level employee who reports directly to City Manager Katie Lichtig. The city clerk’s annual salary ranges from $87,542 to $109,408 in San Luis Obispo.
In South Pasadena, which has an elected city clerk, the chief deputy city clerk earns from $89,172 to $119,508 annually.
Mejia previously worked as city clerk in Pomona. He succeeded Maeve Grimes, who left the city of San Luis Obispo after less than a year.
Over the summer, the San Luis Obispo City Council approved cost-of-living increases for many employees. The raises covered 151 nonpublic safety employees represented by the San Luis Obispo City Employees Association, as well as 79 unrepresented management employees and three unrepresented confidential positions: a paralegal, human resources administrative assistant and human resources specialist.
Some specific positions also received additional raises to bring salaries in line with comparable cities in California and retain staff.
City officials have said the turnover rate has increased as employees find other jobs and cite higher pay or lower cost of living as reasons for leaving. The number of employees leaving for other employment was 10 percent in 2012, 19 percent in 2012 and 32 percent in 2014.
Human Resources Director Monica Irons said the overall citywide turnover rate is running about 10 percent, with the majority being retirements.