Recently retired Santa Ana City Manager Dave Ream cashed out $230,366 in unused time off, according to figures provided by the city, yet another large cost attributable to a major turnover in city leadership over the last few months.

In his more than 30 years of service to the city, Ream accrued 1,827 hours in vacation time, according to the figures. He was able to accrue that much time because of a contract provision allowing him to bank unlimited vacation time. Ream did not cash out any unused sick time.

This is the second significant payout the city has made to a former high-level official. Former City Attorney Joe Fletcher cashed out $191,699 in vacation and sick time when he departed in December, part of a taxpayer-funded windfall for Fletcher that totaled $333,779.

In one respect, Ream’s decision to retire saved the city a bundle. His contract had a golden parachute clause that called for him to receive a payout between $500,000 and $800,000 had the City Council decided to fire him.

Ream is currently employed by the city as an independent consultant as the city attempts to fill a void left by the departure of three top city officials, including Ream, Fletcher, and Community Development Agency Director Cindy Nelson, who announced her retirement in January.


Since you've made it this far,

You are obviously connected to your community and value good journalism. As an independent and local nonprofit, our news is accessible to all, regardless of what they can afford. Our newsroom centers on Orange County’s civic and cultural life, not ad-driven clickbait. Our reporters hold powerful interests accountable to protect your quality of life. But it’s not free to produce. It depends on donors like you.

Join the conversation: In lieu of comments, we encourage readers to engage with us across a variety of mediums. Join our Facebook discussion. Message us via our website or staff page. Send us a secure tip. Share your thoughts in a community opinion piece.