Monday, June 13, 2005

Wanted: Strong city manager for Suisun City

From the Daily Republic, Fairfield / June 13, 2005

By Ian Thompson / Staff Writer

SUISUN CITY - Whoever Suisun City picks as city manager better be up for the challenge of bring a city budget back from the red, promoting more economic development and filling a host of high-level city management positions.

"If you look at what Suisun City is facing, we need a strong city manager, someone who is highly creative and strong with redevelopment," Councilman Pete Sanchez said.
On Wednesday the City Council will interview four or five candidates singled out by a consulting firm.

"We are looking for a guy who can balance the budget and hold the line, one thing (former City Manager) Steve (Baker) did well," Councilman Mike Segala said. "We want someone who can provide fiscal guidance for the city."

Baker left the job last year to become city manager of the Sierra foothills town of Oakdale. The council appointed former Vallejo city manager David Martinez as the interim.

Assistant to the City Manager Jim Randall said there was only a remote possibility a new city manager would be announced on Wednesday.

Depending on how quickly the council wants to forge ahead, a new city manager could be in place by August, Randall said.

The council wants the new manager to be on the job as soon as possible because the city has a slate of city administrator positions that are either vacant or filled on an interim basis.

The Redevelopment Agency director, the Community Development director and the Assistant to the City Manager are presently filled by interim employees. The city's Finance Director position has been vacant for months.

Sanchez, who has seen the finalists' resumes, called them "real go getters" and said he will push for a decision to be made Wednesday.

"We don't have time to waste," Sanchez said.

Councilmember Sam Derting - who wants a city manager who has good people skills, understands development and can work with a city in financial crisis - will make up his own mind by the end of the week, he said.

Once the top candidate has been determined, the challenge is figuring out if the cash-strapped city has the resources to entice the person on board, Sanchez said.

On the plus side, Suisun City's fortunes seem to be on the upswing with the naming of the master developer for boosting Old Town Suisun City's economy and plans for a shopping center on open land west of Old Town and south of Highway 12.

"For the first time in years, the Suisun City economic engine is firing on all cylinders," Sanchez said.

Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or at

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