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Keaten is Lathrop interim manager
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LATHROP — Lathrop’s Acting City Manager Cary Keaten was appointed Interim City Manager during a special City Council meeting Tuesday night.
The announcement was made by Mayor Kristy Sayles without any further comment. The vote made in closed session was unanimous.
The change in title did not involve any bump in pay, said Council member Robert Oliver, commenting at the end of the special meeting that was called the day before.
But being in the acting capacity is “a little bit different than” being interim, Oliver said.
“We felt it necessary to empower Cary” after former City Manager Yvonne Quiring resigned and he stepped in to fill her shoes, he added.
When Quiring resigned the end of October, Keaten explained that part of his role as the assistant city manager at the time was to fill in the vacancy at the top administrative position.
“Now, they decided to put me as interim,” he said.
The one agenda item called for the “public employee appointment and/or employment” of the city manager position. Oliver said Monday that he asked for a special council meeting to discuss the hiring of a permanent replacement for Quiring because he has learned about “an opportunity that I fully believe is good for the city.”
Although Oliver declined to elaborate further, the Manteca Bulletin has learned that the “opportunity” he was referring to was River Islands engineering manager Glen Gebhardt who was the city’s former Public Works Director. River Islands Project Manager Susan Dell’Osso confirmed Monday that Gebhardt was being let go in their effort to downsize their staff given the sluggish economy that is affecting the entire country and the global community.
“He’s one hundred percent trustworthy, hardworking, smart, very talented, and creative. And one of the best things about him is he’s a calming influence, and that’s possibly why the city is interested in him,” Dell’Osso said.
She certainly saw those potential assets in Gebhardt as being useful to her company, so when she learned 10 years ago that he was considering leaving his city employment to go to the Bay Area, “rather than lose him and his expertise, I asked him to work for River Islands,” Dell’Osso said.
At that time, River Islands was still called the Gold Rush City.
“The whole idea is to keep good talent where it’s needed,” she added.
That idea apparently was not shared, with the exception of Oliver, by the council members who, the Bulletin learned, did not even want to discuss that possibility without any name being mentioned. Instead, they voted to appoint Keaten as interim city manager.
Commenting after the mayor’s announcement following the closed session of the special meeting, Keaten said, “My understanding is that the council asked me to be interim city manager while they go through the recruitment process.”
That process will include the hiring of a recruiter who will work with the council on what the city’s goals are, and then proceed with the selection of potential candidates for interview. Based on those steps, the interim position could stretch up to three or four months, he said.
Based on the city’s past history, that period could take longer. That happened in the 1990s when then Planning Department Director Pam Carder was given the acting city manager capacity while the city spent thousands of dollars to hire a recruitment company to do the head-hunting process. That effort was unsuccessful and the city ended up convincing Carder to be the city manager. But that honeymoon ended nearly three years ago when the council abruptly fired her the weekend before the November elections and named then city attorney Michael Spata as interim city manager, bypassing Quiring who was then assistant city manager. Spata barely warmed his seat when he tendered his resignation to return to his city attorney post, and the council named Quiring as interim city manager. She held that post until she was made city manager last year.