Council Debates Assistant City Manager Position

The major issue the City Council addressed on January 6, 2009, was the hiring an assistant City Manager. The assistant City Manager would serve as an apprentice to City Manager and City Attorney Charles R. Martin, who has hinted at a possible retirement from the post.

“I don’t know how much longer Charlie will be around,” said councilman Fernando Vizcarra, “but he’s been making sounds like it won’t be forever.”

Martin, who currently serves as City Manager and City Attorney, was largely silent as the City Council tensely debated the issue. Councilmembers discussed either hiring an assistant to help Martin or waiting until litigation regarding the Piazza project was resolved before addressing the post of City Manager.

Councilman Dave Capra argued it was an unsuitable time to seek a new assistant because potential applicants may not want to be associated with a city that has a “black tag” associated with its name.

“I don’t think we’re going to get the best qualified candidate to come to our city right now,” said Capra.

Mayor Cathé Wilson and councilman Ken Gillanders sided with Capra. Wilson noted the option of calling Contract Cities and hiring an interim City Manager, if it was necessary.

Councilmember Judy Wong acknowledged the “pluses” of Temple City and praised Martin for his efforts. However, she offered an alternative solution – opening the position for potential applications, so that options would be available after the March elections.

“I’m not saying that the applicants [are] going to take over Charlie’s job, but at least we have some information in hand,” said Wong.

The audience was also adamant in voicing their opinions.

“I don’t think you should wait for another council” said resident Jerry Jambazian, “Some of you are possibly to blame, so I think you could right the situation.”

“You need to step up and do the right thing,” he added.

In February 2008, the City Council voted 3-2 to eliminate the position of deputy City Manager after having advertised and created the position in the summer of 2007. This occurred once councilman Capra signaled he no longer supported having an assistant serve under Martin.

On Tuesday evening, the roll call vote for advertising the position of assistant City Manager failed 3-2, with Gillanders, Wilson and Capra voting against Vizcarra’s motion to advertise the hiring of the position. Vizcarra and Wong voted in favor.

 

This article was written by Leslie Wu. It will be published in the Temple City Voice on April 17, 2009.

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