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Moorhead observing various city services
FIRE7 7-25-09
Manteca Fire engineer Michael Hohn uses a chain saw to cut away sections of a roof during a mock drill. - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

Debby Moorhead considers it “on the job training.”

The first-year Manteca council member is making it a point to tag along with workers in various municipal departments to get a better feel for municipal operations. So far, she’s been on a ride-along with Manteca Police and observed the Manteca Fire Department training that included an emergency call that she went on board the engine with firefighters.

“It’s important that I do this not just to get a better understanding but to remember that the men and women we have working for us have faces and families, “ said Moorhead in reference to tough budget choices that are on the horizon.

Manteca is in the process of putting together a spending plan for the balance of the fiscal year that started July 1. City leaders wanted to have a better handle on property tax and sales tax receipts as well as what the state budget deal would do in terms of hijacking local tax receipts.

Municipal workers agreed to take a 3.8 percent pay reduction starting July 1 to help the city deal with the budget crisis. They are taking the pay cut through unpaid furlough days.

That move will save the city $1.2 million. The pay cut will be distributed throughout the fiscal year but most of the actual forced furlough days will occur during the holidays resulting in closing city hall for the week of Thanksgiving and the week after Christmas.

Essential employees such as police, firefighters, refuse workers, as well as sewer and water workers will have their unpaid furloughs spread out during the course of the year.

The city still has upwards of $3 million in cuts to make to balance the current fiscal year budget.

As far as being a student of how things work, Moorhead participated in the Manteca Convention & Visitors Bureau Manteca leadership program several years ago that included seminars at the wastewater treatment plant, police department, Doctors Hospital and other city services. It was designed to educate participants on how the community operates on a day-to-day basis.

As Manteca Chamber of Commerce chief executive officer Moorhead has put in place a similar junior leadership program for high school seniors.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, e-mail