LEMOORE — Lemoore City Manager Andi Welsh was placed on administrative leave Wednesday.

Lemoore Mayor Ray Madrigal said Welsh was on administrative leave until further notice and declined to comment on the reason why.

“It’s a personnel matter,” he said. “That’s all I can say.”

City employees on Friday said Welsh was not in the office and did not know when she would be back.

Welsh could not be reached for comment. 

Wednesday, the Lemoore City Council – Madrigal, Eddie Neal, Jeff Chedester, Holly Blair and Dave Brown – met in closed session at a special meeting. The item listed on the agenda was to consider the discipline, dismissal, release or complaints of a public employee.

Neal said he could not comment about what the council discussed in closed session.

Lemoore City Clerk Janie Venegas said there was nothing reported out of closed session. 

Councilmembers Chedester, Blair and Brown declined to comment.  

Madrigal said Lemoore Police Chief Darrell Smith will fill in as acting city manager.

Reached by phone on Friday, Smith referred all calls to Madrigal.

The council hired Welsh in June 2015 to replace Jeff Laws, who retired. The council approved a three-year contract with Welsh valid through June 30, 2018.

In April 2016, Welsh received a $549-a-month raise, which increased her base annual salary from $128,760 to $135,348.

Three weeks before the newly elected council members were sworn in, the then council – Madrigal, Neal, Chedester, William Siegel and Mayor Lois Wynne – voted 4-0 (Siegel was not present) and approved additional changes to Welsh's contract on Nov. 15, 2016, which includes:

  • Welsh receives $10,100 in pension benefits annually, which is a $3,600 increase from when she was hired in June 2015.
  • If the City Council decided to not renew, extend or amend her contract, the council must give her at least six months’ notice prior to the end of her term.
  • Lemoore pays 100 percent of medical, dental and vision premiums for Welsh and her family, which was not included in her original contract.
  • If terminated without cause, Welsh is entitled to severance pay equal to 12 months rather than six months or the remainder of her contract, whichever is less.

Before coming to Lemoore, Welsh served as assistant to the town manager in Gilbert, Arizona, which is located about 20 miles southeast of Phoenix.

This reporter can be reached at csandoval@hanfordsentinel.com or 583-2422. 

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