RP seeks new city engineer
Babonis position axed; city now looking for Jenkinsí replacement
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By Jud Snyder  January 24, 2014 12:00 am

When Gov. Jerry Brown dissolved all redevelopment agencies in California, he also severed the main funding for the agencies. 

They used a complicated taxing formula to amass funds enabling cities to build low-cost and moderate housing. Brown needed the redevelopment money to ease California’s billion-dollar debt burden.

There went most of the money to keep Linda Babonis, RP’s economic development manager, on the city’s payroll.

Next came the promotion of Darrin Jenkins, then city engineer, to assistant city manager and then to full-time city manager. His office moved from the second floor down to the first floor in the process. 

It also left Rohnert Park without a full-time city engineer.

The city council decided Jan. 14 to eliminate Babonis’ job and use the freed salary to pay for a new city engineer. 

Council members were lavish with praise of the job she has been doing with economic development the past three years. 

But as Councilman Jake Mackenzie said, “We’re going in a different direction now.”

The city asked Patrick Barnes, deputy city engineer, to take over Jenkins’ role until a new city engineer can be found. Is Barnes a candidate for the city engineer’s job?

“Darrin’s staff is still working out a new set-up for the job,” said Barnes. “I’ll just wait on it and see how things roll out.”

The job pays $9,000 to $11,000 a month, depending on past experience. Both jobs are in the same pay scale.

“The reorganization can be accomplished without an increase in General Fund expenditures,” said Sophia Selivanoff, human resources manager.

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