In the span of just two months, the City of Santa Ana has parted ways with its city manager, deputy city manager, city clerk, and a top city manager’s aide. With a $400,000 severance package approved for City Manager Raul Godinez on Jan. 15, the total cost of The Great Santa Ana Exodus has totaled nearly $1.1 million over just two years.
Compounding the hefty price tag is the turmoil. The city has no permanent replacements lined up and a number of the vacancies don’t have temporary fulfillment either.
The four most recent departures followed the November election, which shifted the balance of power on the city council. But the chaos is nothing new. Santa Ana has been plagued by infighting and high turnover for a long time now. At least seven temporary or permanent city managers have come and gone over the past six years.
The decision to finalize Godinez’s departure and severance was 4 to 1. Councilwoman Ceci Iglesias voted no because of the high cost of the severance package. Council Members Roman Reyna and Vicente Sarmiento were absent for the vote.