Captain Mike Aguilar is overseeing the Manteca Police Department while outside investigators determine the validity of employee complaints lodged against Police Chief Jodie Estarziau.
Acting City Manager Miranda Lutzow appointed Aguilar acting chief after placing Estarziau on paid administrative leave. That happened after the city — along with the Manteca Bulletin — received a 5-page letter Wednesday outlining accusations involving various personnel issues.
Individual council members did not have the document sent directly to them as reported in Wednesday’s Bulletin. It is not clear which — if any council members — have seen the document.
Placing Estarziau on administrative leave came hours after Lutzow fired Public Works Director Mark Houghton who was escorted off of the city campus at 1001 W. Center St. by a Manteca Police officer.
Wednesday was also when Lutzow formally announced the appointment of City Clerk Lisa Blackmon to fill the vacant assistant city manager’s job. The position had been vacant since it was authorized by the City Council in June when the current municipal budget was adopted.
The city currently had a third of its nine member senior administrative staff on paid leave while personnel complaints against them are vetted by what the city described in a press release as “fair, impartial outside investigators.” The others on leave are City Manager Tim Ogden and Finance Director Jeri Tejeda.
The same press release states, “The City of Manteca is focusing on providing the highest level of services to residents. To that end, staffing adjustments have been made, and experienced, dedicated staff continues to put their best foot forward to allow for smooth operations with no disruption to the community.”
How the city is doing is as follows:
Lutzow, the administrative services director, was appointing acting city manager by the council when Ogden was placed on administrative leave in September.
Deputy Finance Director Stephen Christensen is overseeing day-to-day operations in that department since Tejeda was placed on administrative leave.
Planning Manager J.D. Hightower is serving as acting community development director after Greg Showerman resigned in October to go to work for the City of Modesto. The city is now recruiting for a permanent replacement.
Deputy Public Works Director Koosun Kim is the acting department head after Houghton’s termination.
Assistant City Clerk Cassandra Tilton is now acting city clerk after Blackmon was appointed assistant city manager.
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