The Roseville City Council voted 5-0 to dismiss City Manager W. Craig Robinson and will pay him a severance package valued $390,136.

Roseville Mayor Gina Garbolino told PublicCEO in a phone interview that communication between Robinson and the City Council had “totally broken down.”

“It was a distraction and we have serious issues to deal with right now,” Garbolino said.

Garbolino said it was Robinson’s decision not to resign after failing to come to an agreement with the city.

The city will pay his annual salary of $273,000 plus benefits.

“After months you need to move on,” Garbolino said. “We did it in a way that was least impactful on the city.”

A secondary motion was made based on an option stipulated in the contract to pay Robinson’s severance over a 12-month period or in one lump sum. The Council voted 4-1 to pay it on a monthly basis.

The Sacramento Bee newspaper had reported on Thursday afternoon that the council made a decision to dismiss the longtime city manager without cause, which entitled him to leave with full benefits. The article insinuated that Robinson was receiving a better severance package because he was dismissed without cause.

Garbolino called that inaccurate, and noted that cause or no cause played zero part in the motion. She said Robinson’s contract doesn’t mention anything about cause.

“The Council has the right to terminate for any amount of reasons – some serious or some not serious – but the only actual cause for not paying a contract would be the conviction of a felony or a really bad thing,” Garbolino said.

The confusion may have come from the dissenting vote in the 4-1 decision to pay over a 12-month period versus a lump sum. Mayor Pro Tem Pauline Roccucci told PublicCEO in a phone interview that she voted to terminate with cause, however Garbolino maintains this wasn’t part of the vote.

It ends up being a moot point. Roccucci agrees that communication was the reasoning behind the dismissal.

“We put him on administrative leave because the communication and relationship with him broke down,” Roccucci said.

“For me, that meant that trying to get things done as a council and working with the city manager was very difficult for us. The city manager works for the city council.”

Robinson has served as Roseville City Manager since February 2003 and has been with the city since 1989.

In September, Robinson was honored for 30 years of membership service with the International City/County Management Association.

Last week, the City Council appointed Mike Shellito interim city manager, who has committed to this role through December 31, 2009 and on a month-to-month basis if a replacement has not been found.

James Spencer can be reached at