The Grover Beach City Council’s meeting was unusually crowded Feb. 16, as citizens, city officials, and staff gathered to say goodbye to City Manager Robert “Bob” Perrault.
Perrault announced his retirement in early February after serving as city manager for nearly a decade. The meeting began with several emotional speeches from attendees.
“I’m deeply touched and overwhelmed,” Perrault said. “I’m never at a loss for words, but I am a little choked up.”
Perrault was initially hired in 2006 after working for the county of Ventura, as well as the cities of Cloverdale, Colfax, and Simi Valley. In total, Perrault worked in the public service sector for more than 41 years.
Grover Beach Mayor John Shoals said Perrault was hired at a time when the city was in transition and staff morale was low.
“One of the best things we did was hire Bob 10 years ago,” Shoals said. “Over the years, he diligently worked hard to serve this community.”
Perrault’s last day on the job was Feb. 16.
In the wake of Perrault’s retirement, the council voted to hire a former employee and current retiree to fill his spot until a new city manager is hired. The council voted unanimously to appoint the city’s former police chief, Jim Copsey, as Grover Beach’s interim city manager.
According to his contract, Copsey, who draws a pension from the California Public Employee’s Retirement System, will be paid $73.21 an hour—or $12,690 a month—to serve in Perrault’s place. That hourly rate is the maximum base salary for the position. Under CalPERS regulations, Copsey will be limited to 960 hours per-fiscal year.
“He receives no other benefits under the contract,” said Martin Koczanowicz, Grover Beach’s city attorney.
While Copsey serves as interim city manager, the city has already hired a firm, Santa Cruz-based William Avery and Associates, to conduct the search for Perrault’s permanent replacement.