Nelson Oliva, the man who was city manager as Hercules plunged towards fiscal turmoil, may have violated his employment contract by seeking consulting work in the city of Lompoc.

When his namesake and former company, NEO Consulting, attempted to secure a new contract for affordable housing in the Central Valley city, Oliva appeared before the council. Similarly, when NEO wanted a contract with Soledad in Monterey County, Oliva again appeared to answer questions. He took both of these trips on behalf of a company he reportedly divested himself of before being hired as City Manager in Hercules. The concern comes from an affordable housing contract that NEO was awarded (and renewed) on a no-bid basis in Hercules.

That action, along with a series of other managerial shortcomings, was highlighted by a grand jury report in 2009.

From the Hercules

Former City Manager Nelson Oliva last year was actively soliciting an out-of-town contract for his daughters’ company while collecting his $18,650 monthly salary from the city of Hercules, an activity that may have violated his employment agreement.

The outside activities also may have an impact on Oliva’s severance package, of which only half has been paid. 

Along with Mike Sakamoto, who’s also a former Hercules city manager and the man who managed Hercules’ Municipal Utility, Oliva traveled to Lompoc in Santa Barbara County last May. They were seeking a $350,000 contract for NEO Consulting Inc., doing business as Affordable Housing Solutions Group, a company formerly owned by Oliva that had operated the Hercules affordable housing program for nearly seven years.

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