San Leandro Pays Former City Manager $350,000 As He Leaves For New Job

Within a month of reinstating him as City Manager, the City Council agreed to pay Chris Zapata $350,000 to leave San Leandro. Included in the separation agreement was a an anti-disparagement clause that is not limited by subject matter. Any criticism of Zapata for any reason by any city employee or any City Commissioner that could negatively impact his reputation is prohibited. Why would both parties want this? The Mayor and City Council do not want anyone to say anything critical of Zapata because that reflects negatively on their leadership as we head into elections. Likewise Zapata didn't want anyone connected to City Hall to criticize him as he had been looking for a new job during the period from his reinstatement as City Manager to his departure. Zapata has secured the position of City Manager of Anaheim where his total compensation (salary and benefits) will likely exceed $400,000 annually. The Anaheim City Council will vote on his new contract this week.
It often takes months from initial application, to interview stage, to final interview and background check to secure an open position as a City Manager in California. Anaheim spent months trying to find a new City Manager according to the document I linked above. It is likely that Mayor Cutter and members of the San Leandro City Council were contacted by representatives of the City of Anaheim for answers on background questions about Zapata and to vouch for Zapata's leadership while they were negotiating Zapata's departure from San Leandro. If Zapata wanted to leave San Leandro right after he was reinstated, that was his choice, but Zapata was not entitled to any payment under his contract for his voluntary departure.
The Mayor and City Council need to explain themselves for giving away $350,000 of our money while seeking to gag everyone at City Hall and all City Commissioners from criticizing Zapata's tenure.


  1. I'm so glad to see you write this, Stephen. We've been totally gamed. He was paid too much from day one, showed lousy judgement (at best...), and the Mayor and the Council were totally played. Of course, Zapata was also played. Still it looks like time to clean house in San Leandro government, if they're giving away $350k and don't have the money they need for pensions coming up on them very soon.


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