City manager hopefuls interviewed

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! PICO RIVERA – City Council members went behind closed doors Wednesday to interview candidates for the long-vacant job of city manager. City officials said the closed-door interviews were legal under state law. Officials also turned down a request from this newspaper asking for the number of job candidates being interviewed, as well as the names of the interviewees. “In this instance, publicly disclosing the names of individuals who have applied for city manager would be an unwarranted invasion of their personal privacy,” deputy city clerk Evelyn Izaguirre wrote in response to the request. Tom Newton, general counsel for the California Newspaper Publishers Association, said a city council can conduct job interviews behind closed doors and keep candidates names secret if the candidate so requests. “It is traditional,” Newton said. However, City Councilman Gregory Salcido on Wednesday disclosed that list of finalists includes six names. Hired City Hall consultant Chuck Fuentes was among the six, Salcido said. “There is no process,” Salcido said in a swipe at the council’s closed-door interviews. Referring to Fuentes, Salcido said he found it “certainly unethical and likely illegal” that the consultant, a close ally of Councilman Ron Beilke, is among the finalists for the job. “He also has the unique characteristic of being the only candidate who has participated in a council members’ campaign where the primary objective of that campaign was to remove the previous city manager,” Salcido said. Fuentes campaigned for Beilke, who was critical of the previous City Council for approving a pay raise for former City Manager Dennis Courtemarche that pushed his salary to above $200,000 a year. After Beilke’s election, the new council majority fired Courtemarche in April, hired Fuentes as a consultant charged with slashing waste at City Hall and launched a search for a new city manager. According to Salcido, all the finalists for the city manager’s job have bachelor’s degrees or master’s degrees and previous experience in city management – except Fuentes, who has no four-year college degree and has no previous experience as a city manager. City spokesman Bob Spencer said he did not expect the council to name its final choice for city manager after Wednesday’s closed-door interviews. He said the new manager likely will be announced at the council’s meeting Tuesday. [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3028last_img read more