A new assistant city manager hired by Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer’s administration left his prior position in Tracy under acrimonious circumstances.
Michael Rogers served as Tracy city manager from 2021 until May 2023, when he resigned as part of a settlement with the city. Several news reports said Rogers was likely going to be fired by the city council.
SF Gate reported in June that “the councilmembers alleged that Rogers played favorites with members of the council; was hostile to city staffers; had ‘inappropriate’ communications with individuals who had contracts with the city, which included accepting gifts; failed to inform the council of a medical procedure that would leave him absent for reportedly 10 weeks; and abused the authority granted to him to resolve the city’s homelessness issue.”
The city of Fresno announced the hiring of two assistant city managers on Monday — Rogers, and Nick Mascia, formerly the assistant city manager in Visalia.
“As our city grows, it’s important that our team grows to meet those needs,” Dyer said in a news release. “Both Nick and Michael bring experience, leadership, and vision to their new roles in the City Manager’s Office, and I look forward to working with them to continue creating a better Fresno for all.”
Rogers and Mascia start on Monday, Dec. 4.
GV Wire’s attempts to speak with Rogers and Fresno City Manager Georgeanne White on Monday were not successful.
Rogers Resigns After Tracy Council Meeting
Rogers resigned shortly after a Tracy City Council meeting on May 23 at which the council initially lowered the bar for removing a city manager.
A vote of four of the five city councilmembers previously was required to fire the city manager; at the May meeting, the city council preliminarily approved reducing the threshold to a simple majority — or three votes.
Documents supporting the change accused Rogers of “repeatedly prioritized development items and items proposed by select Councilmembers onto the City Council agendas and delayed and/or ignored items raised by other members of the City Council” among other grievances.
Also at issue was a contract Rogers administered with a Texas company to provide shipping containers to be used as homeless shelters. There were problems with the containers, as reported by the Tracy Press.
“(The) decision will lead to a loss of approximately $600,000 of public funds due to defects as well as ongoing delays in providing additional available beds for the homeless population,” a city council document said.
Rogers alleged racial discrimination in a proposed lawsuit against the city. In the settlement to drop the litigation, he resigned and accepted a $265,000 severance.
After the resignation, the city council dropped the plan to reduce the votes needed to fire a city manager.
Tracy City Councilmember Eleassia Davis — who supported a change to make it easier to fire the city manager — declined to comment on Monday and referred GV Wire to the public record. Other members of the Tracy City Council, including Mayor Nancy Young, did not return messages.
The move divided the community and the city council. Young supported Rogers. The Tracy Press reported that Young said in a news release that the efforts to remove Rogers were “a power grab and a ‘blatant racial attack’ on Rogers.”
Both Young and Rogers are Black.
Others came to Rogers’ defense, including former San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman Bubba Paris, now a minister and homeless advocate in Tracy. Paris helped bring some modular units to the city.