Fontana paid its city manager $1 million not to work

Transparent California Executive Director Robert Fellner: “The government can’t pay someone $1 million to not work without telling the taxpayers footing the bill why.”

The City of Fontana: “Oh yea? Just watch us!”

That’s the gist of a just-published story by the great Jason Henry of the Southern California News Group, entitled, “Former Fontana city manager made nearly $1 million without working a day in 2020.”

The sweetheart deal, which the city council refuses to explain to the taxpayers footing the bill, is even better than it sounds. That’s because the former city manager began collecting an over $200,000 annual pension in February 2020 — alongside the nearly $1 million in cash the city paid him to retire early.

We’ve had plenty of great success stories about cities and other agencies implementing reforms, but as this example so clearly illustrates, there remains much work to be done!

That work will now be in the hands of our great research director, Todd Maddison, who is officially taking over the reigns for me as I step down later this month.

It’s been a fun ride watching Transparent California go from an idea to the juggernaut it is today. I’m confident that it will only get better under Todd’s leadership.

I can be reached at until the end of the month, but any TransCal-related queries would be best sent to Todd at

Thanks for all your support along the way, it’s been one heck of a ride.

— Robert Fellner

Categories: News