City Council meets in closed session to consider City Manager candidates

March 22, 2017
Santa Paula News

The City Council met in a closed session with a consultant and the city attorney to cull through candidates for the City Manager’s job at a special session held last week.

It was the council’s first swing at a narrowed down list culled from dozens of recruits and those considered by the consultant to be the most suited to fulfill Santa Paula’s needs. 

It has not yet been announced what format the City Council will use in its hiring process, such as seating separate interview panels representing city employees and unions, community members and businesses.

According to City Attorney John Cotti, the recruitment — which closed February 24 — drew 49 applications for City Hall’s top job, but he would not disclose how many applications were discussed during the approximately 2-hour meeting.

There was one public speaker before the council adjourned to the March 13 closed session recommending that the council think outside the box for their selection.

City Clerk Lucy Blanco said Gary Nasalroad, a former longtime Planning Commissioner and community activist, suggested that the council look close to home for a candidate to replace Jaime Fontes, who is leaving in April.

Blanco’s notes showed Nasalroad said he would “Recommend a candidate that possibly would be overlooked,” in the initial slew of resumes sent to the consultant for the city’s top job. 

Nasalroad told the council that Jack Pitluk of Santa Paula, a private industry CFO, “Has lots of experience, not particularly government experience,” but much in private industry that could benefit the city.

Pitluk, the Chamber of Commerce CEO, is also very active in the community.

Nasalroad, said Blanco, “Wished the council good luck in their search.”

Following the meeting Cotti said the council would start interviewing candidates March 31. 

As far as what kind of format the council will use in the hiring, “There will be a public process on April 12,” which Cotti described as “Still a work in progress…”

A representative of consultant Bob Murray & Associates also attended the March 13 meeting, held in the City Hall Administration Conference Room.

Fontes was hired by Santa Paula in 2009 and officially joined the city in February 2010. His last day in City Hall’s corner office is April 15. 

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