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Is Lathrop ready to hire a new city manager?

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POSTED December 16, 2008 4:24 a.m.
LATHROP — Is the Lathrop City Council ready to appoint or hire a new city manager?
The agenda for the 5 p.m. special council meeting and closed session today only has one discussion item: “public employee appointment and/or employment  pursuant to Government Code Section 54957 (b)(1).” The position referred to is that of the city manager.
Council member Robert Oliver confirmed Monday that he was the one who wanted the council to have a special meeting and a closed session specifically to discuss the issue of hiring a permanent replacement for Yvonne Quiring who resigned on Oct. 30. However, he would not confirm if he had someone in mind for the position, pointing out that this is a closed-session matter for discussion. But, he said, “there’s an opportunity that doesn’t come along often, that I fully believe is good for the city. So, I suggested that the city council sit down and talk about it.”
Oliver declined to elaborate on what exactly is the “opportunity” that he was referring to. He simply said that he “was the one that learned of this opportunity” so he called Mayor Kristy Sayles if she would schedule a special meeting.
There are two ways to schedule a special council meeting — either the mayor calls for one which she is authorized to do, or three of the five council members request for one.
“I really wanted the mayor to call the special meeting. She’s the mayor and I wanted her to call the session. So I called her first. I told her all about it, that all I want is for the council to decide whether they want to pursue this. She said she wanted to give it some thought,” Oliver said.
Then he said he called Council members Sonny Dhaliwal and Christopher Mateo. He could not reach Vice Mayor Martha Salcedo on the phone because she was in class at Lathrop School at the time.
When interviewed on the phone, Oliver was not sure if the meeting was scheduled because the mayor called for it or if the two council members contacted the city attorney to inform him of their concurrence with Oliver’s request. Phone calls to the mayor and Mateo were not immediately returned. Dhaliwal called back to say he did contact the city attorney affirming his desire to have a special meeting today.
The purpose of this meeting is “only” for the council to come up with one or two decisions, Oliver said. “Yes, we want to know more about this or, no we don’t, and if they (council members) want to seek more information about this or not. It’s just about talking; it’s not about hiring. It’s just an idea that I believe will help the city, if they want to pursue it or not.”
Dhaliwal confirmed that he understood today’s special meeting to be “a general discussion about the recruitment of a city manager — when we’re going to start the recruitment process and whether we’re going to seek a recruitment firm or not.”
After accepting Quiring’s resignation and after approving her separation package of $332,500 which included her salary according to the terms of her contract, plus unpaid vacation and sick leave, the council appointed Assistant City Manager Cary Keaten to be the acting city manager.
During the reception for the outgoing and incoming council members on Dec. 9, just before the regular council meeting, Keaten was asked when the city will start the recruitment process for the city manager position. He said that with the hectic holiday season coming, he expected the process to begin after the new year.
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