Residents share thoughts on next city manager
October 17, 2019 | View PDF
Two Town Hall meetings were held recently to allow the public to give input into the recruitment process to find a new city manager.
The workshops' goal was to get the residents of Shafter involved in the process of finding a replacement. The City Council accepted the resignation of City Manager Scott Hurlbert at the end of August.
The firm of CPS HR Consulting was retained by the city to lead the process. The firm has been involved in recruitments for a number of cities throughout the state, including Hollister, Clayton, East Palo Alto and Modesto. Their services include creating a brochure as a tool in the recruitment, preliminary screening of applicants, interviews, background checks and holding several public meetings to engage citizens in the recruitment process.
Frank Rojas, along with Josh Jones of CPS, asked the residents in attendance at the start of the meeting on Oct. 2 what they liked about living in the community of Shafter. Several residents responded with answers as varied as about the strong commitment Shafter has to its educational system, to the lengths that the city goes to keep our community members safe in their homes and on the streets of Shafter.
Susie Dobbs commented that she was impressed by the response time that there is when it comes to the Shafter Police Department. There were a number of citizens who thought that the financial stability of the city is one of the best advantages of living in Shafter.
There was also a question put to the public about what they would look for in a new City Manager. One of the answers was that the candidates needed to have the "excellent performance" they saw with Hurlbert and his predecessor, John Guinn.
Rojas said that the recruitment brochure would include some of these attributes that were discussed. He also said that they needed to list some of the professional attributes and advantages someone would enjoy if he or she would enjoy living and working in Shafter.
A number of residents mentioned the financial strength they see in the city, as well as the influx of large companies that have come to Shafter.
The new Gossamer Grove housing development was also mentioned.
There were several citizens who brought up issues that they would like to be addressed by the new city manager, including the problem of drug abuse in the community and the lack of resources for those who are battling an addiction.
Clean drinking water was also a concern, after a number of notices sent to residents with information on different contaminants that can infiltrate our system.
The topic of personality traits of a new recruit for the job was also discussed. Honesty and integrity were a couple of responses that were plentiful, as well as the manager being a part of the community and live in the city.
Asked what the Council took away from the meeting, Councilmember Cathy Prout said, "For me, I think it was a real positive to hold these meetings and let the community be a part of the search and let them be involved. It is important to let the people know that they and their concerns are a part of the recruitment process."