Anton 'Tony' Dahlerbach

Anton 'Tony' Dahlerbach

Just short of six years after becoming the city manager of Palos Verdes Estates, Anton “Tony” Dahlerbruch will serve his last day with the city in two weeks.

The City Council voted 4-1 — with Councilmember Dr. Sanford Davidson dissenting — in a closed session meeting Tuesday, April 9, to remove Dahlerbruch and work toward finding an interim city manager, according to City Attorney Christi Hogin, who announced the action before the start of the council’s regular meeting Tuesday.

California open meeting law allows the City Council to make personnel decisions behind closed doors but any action taken must be announced publicly, although the details can still be secret.

Under an agreement with Dahlerbruch, the city will pay him a lump sum worth six months of his base salary in addition to health insurance costs for six months or until Dahlerbruch finds a new job. He will also receive compensation valued at roughly $16,000 for unpaid vacation days bringing his total severance pay to $125,000, Hogin said.

Dahlerbruch also agreed to waive the limitation that prohibits the city from releasing the city manager within 90 days of an election — while making it clear he did not resign — according to Hogin.

The Council then voted unanimously to appoint Police Chief Mark Velez as acting city manager starting April 24, increasing his salary by 5% for taking on the additional duty.

“The city is actively working on securing an interim city manager,” Hogin said. “It has narrowed the field and there will be an announcement on that very soon.”

Following the dramatic announcement to start the meeting Tuesday, councilmembers did not make any formal comments to address the matter, and neither did any residents.

The conflict between Dahlerbruch appears to have revolved around financial issues and how to handle the city’s ongoing pension liabilities, based on discussions during the election of three new councilmembers.

Newly-elected Councilmembers David McGowan, Michael Kemps and former City Treasurer Victoria Lozzi all campaigned in part on the notion the city was not being completely transparent about its finances and the city could be run better.

Information was circulated leading up to the March 5 election stating the city was shifting assets somehow to hide the true financial troubles the city faced.

Others maintained that analysis was flawed, saying the critics were unfairly lumping the city’s unfunded pension liabilities, which all cities face, into the equation.

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