News

East Palo Alto City Clerk Walfred Solorzano resigns

Reasons for his departure haven't been made public

University Avenue in East Palo Alto. Embarcadero Media file photo by Magali Gauthier.

Walfred Solorzano has departed from his job as East Palo Alto's city clerk after signing a "separation agreement," according to a settlement document. The reasons for his departure have not been disclosed.

Solorzano, 42, was on leave of absence earlier this year and signed the separation agreement on Nov. 23. Three members of the City Council, Antonio Lopez, Lisa Gauthier and Regina Wallace-Jones, approved the agreement on Dec. 7; council members Ruben Abrica and Carlos Romero voted against it.

Although the city is bound by the agreement to not discuss the reasons for Solorzano's departure, a staff report from June 15 noted that Solorzano had added language to a Feb. 2 council-approved resolution and the minutes for that meeting, both of which were added without the council's knowledge.

The council had to rescind and revote on the resolution, which honored staff and volunteers who shepherded the city's COVID-19 testing efforts. Solorzano added a statement to the resolution after the meeting and without the council's knowledge or direction. He also deleted the signature block for the city attorney from the resolution before finalizing the document with only the signatures by the city clerk and the mayor.

Solorzano also added a paragraph to the council meeting's Feb. 2 minutes. The paragraph inaccurately stated that during the meeting the council had directed the city clerk to add the statement to the resolution; they approved the version of the resolution as altered by the city clerk, he wrote. The council had approved the meeting minutes on Feb. 16 without realizing Solorzano's addition, according to the staff report.

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The separation agreement pays Solorzano for an undisclosed sum of back wages, vacation and leave time, $30,248 in "severance" pay and $7,820 to cover three months of health insurance premium payments. The severance pay is a lump sum in accordance with an agreement signed at the time he began his employment.

The intent of the agreement is to resolve any legal claims surrounding his employment and termination, according to the settlement. Both sides agreed not to disparage each other.

Earlier this year, Solorzano was recognized by the City Clerks Association of California with the 2021 Special Award of Distinction for Communications, Organization and Administration for his work on a new city website; partnering with organizations that helped create record voter turnout; overhauling the city's communications and outreach efforts; and helping San Mateo County in bringing free WiFi to two parks and other areas of the city. He also pushed a new agenda system for the council and city commissions.

Earlier this month, Solorzano began a new position as clerk for Patterson, a city in Stanislaus County, according to his LinkedIn profile.

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Sue Dremann
 
Sue Dremann is a veteran journalist who joined the Palo Alto Weekly in 2001. She is a breaking news and general assignment reporter who also covers the regional environmental, health and crime beats. Read more >>

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East Palo Alto City Clerk Walfred Solorzano resigns

Reasons for his departure haven't been made public

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Wed, Dec 29, 2021, 9:16 am
Updated: Tue, Jan 4, 2022, 7:12 pm

Walfred Solorzano has departed from his job as East Palo Alto's city clerk after signing a "separation agreement," according to a settlement document. The reasons for his departure have not been disclosed.

Solorzano, 42, was on leave of absence earlier this year and signed the separation agreement on Nov. 23. Three members of the City Council, Antonio Lopez, Lisa Gauthier and Regina Wallace-Jones, approved the agreement on Dec. 7; council members Ruben Abrica and Carlos Romero voted against it.

Although the city is bound by the agreement to not discuss the reasons for Solorzano's departure, a staff report from June 15 noted that Solorzano had added language to a Feb. 2 council-approved resolution and the minutes for that meeting, both of which were added without the council's knowledge.

The council had to rescind and revote on the resolution, which honored staff and volunteers who shepherded the city's COVID-19 testing efforts. Solorzano added a statement to the resolution after the meeting and without the council's knowledge or direction. He also deleted the signature block for the city attorney from the resolution before finalizing the document with only the signatures by the city clerk and the mayor.

Solorzano also added a paragraph to the council meeting's Feb. 2 minutes. The paragraph inaccurately stated that during the meeting the council had directed the city clerk to add the statement to the resolution; they approved the version of the resolution as altered by the city clerk, he wrote. The council had approved the meeting minutes on Feb. 16 without realizing Solorzano's addition, according to the staff report.

The separation agreement pays Solorzano for an undisclosed sum of back wages, vacation and leave time, $30,248 in "severance" pay and $7,820 to cover three months of health insurance premium payments. The severance pay is a lump sum in accordance with an agreement signed at the time he began his employment.

The intent of the agreement is to resolve any legal claims surrounding his employment and termination, according to the settlement. Both sides agreed not to disparage each other.

Earlier this year, Solorzano was recognized by the City Clerks Association of California with the 2021 Special Award of Distinction for Communications, Organization and Administration for his work on a new city website; partnering with organizations that helped create record voter turnout; overhauling the city's communications and outreach efforts; and helping San Mateo County in bringing free WiFi to two parks and other areas of the city. He also pushed a new agenda system for the council and city commissions.

Earlier this month, Solorzano began a new position as clerk for Patterson, a city in Stanislaus County, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Comments

John Carter
Registered user
East Palo Alto
on Dec 29, 2021 at 4:38 pm
John Carter, East Palo Alto
Registered user
on Dec 29, 2021 at 4:38 pm

I’m not surprised. I wonder if this relates to the personnel investigation brought by the city attorney earlier this year, or his role in the election contest. During the June 15th council meeting, the city attorney gave a presentation on him allegedly making unauthorized changes to public documents, and removing his signature block from a resolution in February. The city attorney was prepared to present additional findings on his conduct, but three council members refused to waive attorney-client privilege during the meeting. He was subsequently placed on leave soon after. While I understand the need to protect the city from costly litigation, I’m more concerned about the lack of transparency around this issue.


Optimist Pessimist Realist
Registered user
East Palo Alto
on Jan 28, 2022 at 11:46 am
Optimist Pessimist Realist , East Palo Alto
Registered user
on Jan 28, 2022 at 11:46 am

Having to see that one council member who also voted for Solarzano’s exit package and eats during public meetings, chewing with her mouth open and even picking her teeth on camera is nauseating.

Solarzano barged into his job like a bull in a china shop. He allegedly bossed people around, gave legal advice, changed city documents and seemed to conspire against the city attorney. He’s no loss for EPA.


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