Quincey was put on leave Jan. 4 but under the terms of his contract has continued drawing his $376,000 salary, much to the consternation of the public.
The reason for the cooling-off period after an election was evidently to let newly elected council members get to know a city manager before kicking him to the curb.
Other local cities don't seem to have such an enforced delay. When and how did Upland's waiting period come about?
Oh, what a story that proved to be.
I thought I'd look into it after a conversation last week with Mayor Ray Musser, who pointed a finger at Quincey's predecessor as city manager, Mike Milhiser.
Musser said his understanding was that Milhiser had persuaded the council to adopt the cooling-off clause because he had been fired as Ontario's manager shortly after an election.
"We've got to get that off the books," Musser said. "But first things first."
Milhiser, however, told me he didn't know anything about a 180-day period. And the record bears him out.
First, a 90-day waiting period was put into place in September 1995, almost a year before Milhiser was hired, according to an ordinance provided to me by City Clerk Stephanie Mendenhall.
Upland had fired Kevin Northcraft as city manager that January, shortly after a City Council election. The 90-day waiting period seems to have been designed in response.
When did 90 days become 180 days? Milhiser had nothing to do with that, either.
The City Council voted for the change on June 9, 2008, less than three years ago.
How was the change made? Sneakily.
It was part of a 30-page ordinance "amending certain sections of the Upland Municipal Code" that were identified as "outdated, unnecessary or in need of substantive amendment."
In other words, a simple cleanup. In that vein, the first two pages clarify that loading zones can take up no more than half a block and that bicycles cannot be pedaled on sidewalks.
The next eight pages are devoted to (yawn) Floodplain Management Regulation.
And then, when everyone, perhaps including council members, were napping, came two paragraphs about the city manager.
The waiting period after an election was doubled to 180 days.
And the city manager "shall, not withstanding any conflicting contractual provisions to the contrary, be extended the maximum compensation permitted by the California Government Code Sections 53260 and 53261 upon any termination of his employment contract with the City that allows for such severance payments."
53260 and 53261 allow a public employee eligible for severance upon termination to receive a maximum of 18 months of pay and benefits. The code cautions that 18 months is the "maximum ceiling...and is not a target."
Yeah, tell that to Upland.
Does this provision overrule Quincey's contract, which allows for only 12 months' severance, but only if he's terminated with cause? He might actually be due (gulp) 18 months of pay, no matter what?
Well, that's for the lawyers to decide. The intent, however, seems to be to pull a fast one.
Why do I say that? Because the end of the paragraph states that "this subsection shall automatically terminate" when "the incumbent officer serving in the office of the City Manager" is no longer employed.
If the section wasn't put there to help Quincey, there would be no reason for it to go away after he does. And if the section was meant to be weaker than his contract, there would be no reason for it to exist.
After this section buried on page 11 came 19 dull pages about animal control and solicitors. The ordinance's meat was in the middle. It was a Robb Quincey sandwich!
The vote to approve the ordinance was 5-0: John Pomierski, Brendan Brandt, Ken Willis, Tom Thomas and Ray Musser.
Musser told me Tuesday he has no recollection of the item and was shocked to hear the 180-day period had been so recent - and that he had approved it.
"I did not realize that. I apologize. I'm not sure why we went from 90 to 180 days. I must have overlooked that," Musser said.
As for the provision about Quincey's payout, Musser said he wasn't aware of its origin but that in recent discussions, "I do know that 18 months came up versus 12 months. I did not realize that he could be eligible for 18."
I believe him. Apparently this newspaper and the public didn't catch the changes either or grasp their import.
That said, it seems to me the Upland City Council as currently composed is in a state similar to the Municipal Code in 2008.
It's "outdated, unnecessary or in need of substantive amendment."
LET'S LEAVE the soap opera of Upland for a moment for a real opera, Puccini's "La Boheme," which will be staged in Pomona beginning Saturday.
This is the season-ending production of the Pomona-based Repertory Opera Company, which is giving talented singers, from children to adults, a chance to sing opera near their hometown.
Or far from their hometown. Amanda McAllister, one of the leads, is commuting from L.A.'s Koreatown neighborhood for the rehearsals in Pomona. She has previously performed in Santa Monica and South Pasadena.
"I didn't even know where Pomona was, honestly," admitted McAllister, a Midwestern transplant who arrived in L.A. four years ago. She had never been farther east than Duarte.
"But it's been totally worth it," she said. "The downtown is so cute."
"La Boheme" can be seen at First Christian Church, 1751 N. Park Ave., the next three Saturdays at 2 p.m. Tickets are $30.
McAllister, a soprano who plays Musetta, the opera's femme fatale, said she loves her role, which allows her to sing a taunting aria to her former lover about how men can't stop looking at her because she's hot stuff.
Has she been preparing her whole life for this role?
"I do love to torment men," she confided.
I understand. I love to torment the Upland City Council.
David Allen writes Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, more torment. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 909-483-9339 or write 2041 E. Fourth St., Ontario 91764. Read his blog at dailybulletin.com/davidallenblog