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New city manager officially on board

Sunnyside officially has a new city manager. The Sunnyside City Council approved a contract with Donald Day of New Mexico at last night's regular council meeting. Day was selected as the top choice from a field of four finalists during an intense interview session held June 22. He most recently was employed as county manager in Colfax County in New Mexico. Day was in attendance at Monday's meeting and answered questions about his insurance reimbursement, but most of the details of his contract had already been hammered out in the negotiation process. The negotiating committee, made up of Mayor Jim Restucci, Councilmen Francisco Guerrero and Jason Raines, as well as Patrick Galloway, the city's attorney, met three times to prepare the contract. Deputy Mayor Don Vlieger asked about medical insurance, noting that the contract provides the cost of the medical, optical and dental benefits under the city's health plan, consistent with other city employees. However, Vlieger said there are two classes of city employees, ones who are grandfathered in with the city and do not pay a portion of their costs and the rest of the employees, who pay a percentage. Day answered that he will be paying a portion of the medical costs. The contract also provides a starting annual salary of $110,000, 30 days of vacation, 80 hours of executive leave and 8 hours of sick leave per month. Day will also receive relocation and moving expenses up to $10,000, a cell phone stipend and professional development dues. Restucci also pointed out the termination agreement to council, noting that it was only fair to have a safety net for Day if the council decided to terminate his employment for reasons other than cause. Specifically, Day would receive nine months pay if his contract was terminated during his first year of employment here. His severance is on a sliding scale, decreasing by two months each year he's employed in Sunnyside until the termination agreement reaches a low of three months pay. Restucci said this hiring has been one of the best processes he's been through during his tenure on council. Day addressed the crowd in the council chambers after signing the contract. "I just want to tell you what an honor it's been," he said. "And I echo the sentiments that this has been an absolutely remarkable process, and I commend you. I'm excited and looking forward to coming to this city and making it our home. And as I told the committee members, I hope this is the last job I have, then I want to retire and do a little bit more fishing." Day is expected to start work on Monday, July 29.

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