The Grover Beach City Council unanimously approved expanding the responsibilities of Police Chief Jim Copsey during its Oct. 21 meeting. On Oct. 28, Copsey began serving the dual roles of assistant city manager and police chief for the staff-strapped city.
According to a city staff report, Copsey is slated to earn an additional $13,230 per year in base pay, bringing his base salary to $144,192—the highest public employee compensation in the city.
That said, Copsey said he’s not doing it for the money.
“This change gives me the opportunity to do everything I can do to help Grover Beach operate in the most efficient manner possible,” he told New Times. “I love working.”
Copsey said he’ll continue to work between 50 and 60 hours per week as police chief, adding five to 10 hours per week, on average, for his assistant city manager responsibilities.
“I’ve got to make sure I don’t short-change the needs of my police department or the needs of city management,” Copsey said. “The balancing act will probably be the most challenging part.”
According to Copsey, Grover Beach has only one staff member for every 275 residents, the lowest staff-per-capita ratio in the county.
Asked about potential conflicts of interest that could emerge from his multi-tasking, Copsey said he “couldn’t foresee any” and added that he’d recuse himself if any conflict were to arise.
Copsey filled in for city manager Bob Perrault during Perrault’s six-week absence earlier this year. Copsey’s new job description—in addition to mandatorily reassigning some of Perrault’s administrative duties—specifies that Copsey will act as city manager in the event of Perrault’s absence, according to the staff report.
“In the event a vacancy occurs, it is prudent for the Council to have a successor identified so that the transition in the administrative office is nearly seamless,” Perrault wrote.