Mayor Jenny Crosswhite presented Fontes, who first joined Santa Paula in February 2010, with the City Tile.

Fontes: Goodbyes given at Thursday reception to departing city manager

April 19, 2017
Santa Paula News

Members of the community, present and former council members and city staff gathered at the Community Center Thursday to say goodbye to Jaime Fontes, Santa Paula’s city manager since February 2010.

The reception featured Mayor Jenny Crosswhite presenting Fontes with a City Tile; he also received a framed photo from Father Charles 

Lueras. The group shot including the Our Lady of Guadalupe priest, Fontes and the Archbishop of Los Angeles Jose Horacio Gomez, among others, was taken during a visit from the famed Santa Nino. 

Al Guilin, a St. Sebastian Deacon, told those gathered, “It is my pleasure to be here with my friend,” and noted his own involvement with the chamber.

The chamber is interested in a “vibrant business community” and Guilin noted Fontes “made efforts” for the business community.

“It’s been seven years, time flies so quickly,” said Father Charles who noted Fontes’ “dedication and devotion” to Santa Paula. 

“Other than my own father, may he rest in peace,” Fontes told Lueras, “you are the only other I feel comfortable calling Father.”

Being a city manager, he added, “is a calling…I appreciate all the councils who have served the city and allowed me to follow my calling,” that allowed him to put three children through college. 

A man’s true wealth is “his family…”

Fontes said that, “Every single member of city staff works tremendously hard, you just had to steer them in the right direction.”

Fontes pointed out former council members Ralph Hernandez, Jim Tovias, Fred Robinson and Rick Cook and noted former councilman Bob Gonzales, unable to attend Thursday’s reception, had contacted him. Judy Rice, the former city clerk, was also present as was City Clerk Lucy Blanco and City Treasurer Sandy Easley. Aside from Mayor Crosswhite, Vice Mayor Ginger Gherardi and Councilmen Clint Garman, Martin Hernandez and John Procter also attended. 

“I thank the community of Santa Paula for the opportunity to be of service the last seven years,” and Fontes said, “I wish you all luck,” with a new city manager as well as fresh revenue from Measure T, the 1-cent sales tax.

Farewells were also in store for Assistant to the City Manager Elisabeth Paniagua whom Fontes’ presented with a City Tile and lauded  sfor her education and skills.

Paniagua, now with three children and starting a consultant firm, said “I want to thank the council for 13 great years with the city,” and expressed her appreciation of the time she spent with the city and working with the Santa Paula community.

Fontes, who came to Santa Paula from Nogales, AZ, has taken a job at Greenfield, CA. 





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