MCFARLAND, CA. — Interim McFarland City Manager David Tooley is now speaking out following a grand jury investigation.
The report released in June found a lack of transparency and ethics among officials in the City of Madera, where Tooley served as City Administrator for 25 years.
"We failed to communicate properly with the water and our citizens and explain the reasons. As Chief Executive of the city, that failure is mine," said Tooley.
The investigation was prompted by angry residents after they learned city officials received significant pay raises during a time when water rates increased.
Tooley said the spiked water rates were largely due to a water conservation program.
However, records show Tooley was making significantly more than officials in other cities.
In 2016, he made more than $260,000 with benefits and his total pay was more than $330,000.
For perspective, the Fresno County Manager made about $30,000 less than Tooley.
Tooley said he was not aware of the drastic pay difference and that his salary was approved by City Council.
"I was clear with the council on this, we were going to have to reduce compensation over the long term and that was going to begin at the top," said Tooley.
Tooley resigned in 2017 following news publicity surrounding the salary increases within the city.
He retired but became Interim McFarland City Manager after John Wooner went missing in May.