AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: Clemson demonstrates that it’s tough to knock out the champSalcido said Fuentes is not qualified for the job because of his lack of education and experience in city administration. He also said the city manager’s political entanglements have interfered with his job. “The mayor and Chuck sit together in his office for hours,” Salcido said. “We used to work, we used to have an organization.” Fuentes has worked in politics for many years, aiding in campaigns for Rep. Grace Napolitano, D-Santa Fe Springs, and later for Beilke, Gallegos-Smith and Archuleta. Fuentes said he is qualified as city manager, and that efforts to see him removed are politically motivated. “(Salcido) is a miserable malcontent,” Fuentes said. “He’s constantly trying to stir up animosity amongst the staff and amongst the council. That’s just his style.” PICO RIVERA – City Manager Chuck Fuentes got a $25,000 salary bump Tuesday night via a 3-2 vote by the City Council. The hike means Fuentes, who doesn’t have a college degree, will receive $175,000 annually. “I’ll earn my stripes, which I’m already doing,” Fuentes said. “I believe that this city is definitely moving in the right direction and every month we’re making more and more accomplishments.” Fuentes, 55, has faced criticism by some council members who said his allegiance rests with a 3-2 voting majority made up of Mayor Ron Beilke, Councilwoman Gracie Gallegos-Smith and Councilman Bob Archuleta. “He is an agent of the mayor,” Councilman Gregory Salcido said. “That manifests itself daily. If Ron Beilke didn’t exist, he would never have been interviewed for this position.” According to Beilke, cities with similar populations pay their city managers an average of $187,000 each year, meaning Fuentes’ salary is still below the norm. The previous city manager, Dennis Courtermarche, was fired nearly two years ago after his requests for a salary increase would have placed his pay at more than $200,000 annually. Fuentes said he was promised a raise by Beilke, Gallegos-Smith and Archuleta when he took the position in March, six months after being fired from the same job. “I wasn’t demanding a raise at the earliest opportunity,” Fuentes said. “I had indicated that I wanted to be compensated at the level of a city this size.” Fuentes’ tenure as city manager has been tumultuous. He was fired from the position in September of last year and rehired in March. “They were sworn in on a Tuesday, and on Thursday they put Chuck back in as city manager,” Salcido said. “There was no interview process, they didn’t go through a search.” Beilke said the decision to bring back his ally was one the people of Pico Rivera supported by electing Gallegos-Smith and Archuleta in March. “It’s just sour grapes,” Beilke said. “At the end of the day, I think that the best argument is that the voters put in three new people. They wanted this.” The issue of giving the city manager a raise was talked about in closed sessions before two City Council meetings. Salcido and Armenta said they had hoped to delay any salary increase until Fuentes’ job performance could be better investigated. Salcido moved to delay the vote on Tuesday. He said that residents had not been properly informed of the change in pay. The City Council agenda had stated that an adjustment would be made to the city manager’s contract, but did not indicate what kind of change would be made. “Those are the appropriate legal definitions that have to be placed, and nothing further,” Fuentes said. “Everybody knows what that means. It means if I’m doing a good job, I’m gonna get a bump.” Salcido said he hopes to work with Fuentes effectively in the future. “I get upset with myself if I get unnecessarily confrontational at the dais,” Salcido said. “I’ve always tried to work with him.” [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3029160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!