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Guadalupe Declines To Hire Interim City Administrator, For Now

Andrew Carter expected to leave the post he's held since 2013 no later than late August, maybe sooner

Guadalupe City Attorney David Fleishman, left, and City Administrator Andrew Carter are pictured during the Guadalupe City Council meeting Tuesday night. The council decided not to name an interim administrator while a search is underway for Carter’s replacement.
Guadalupe City Attorney David Fleishman, left, and City Administrator Andrew Carter are pictured during the Guadalupe City Council meeting Tuesday night. The council decided not to name an interim administrator while a search is underway for Carter’s replacement. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

The Guadalupe City Council will bypass hiring an interim city administrator, hoping they have Andrew Carter’s replacement on the job soon.

Carter, who has led the city staff since 2013, announced in late April his plans to leave no later than late August due to plans to move to Hanford in the San Joaquin Valley.

If he lines up a job before that, Carter said, he could leave sooner.

Councilman Ariston Julian said the city is not at the point a decision is needed, noting the process is underway to find Carter’s replacement.

“I would like it to be sooner than later,” he said. “But I don’t think we need to appoint an interim at this point.”

Councilman Jerry Beatty and other members agreed.

“I think we table this until we get into a position where we have a little bit more crunch time,” Beatty added. 

The council also discussed the matter behind closed doors.

During previous meetings, Mayor John Lizalde had lobbied to name Public Safety Director Gary Hoving as the interim city administrator.

However, City Attorney David Fleishman advised the council during a previous meeting that appointing the public safety director could pose legal problems since state government code views the two jobs as incompatible.

Hoving said at the May 10 meeting he is aware of some cities where the chief also served as interim administrator. 

Fleishman said he provided additional information to the City Council behind closed doors, but cited attorney-client privilege in not spelling out the concerns.

The city advertisement of the city administrator job opening attracted 26 resumés by the June 20 deadline The human resources coordinator narrowed the field to 10 after reviewing who met the minimum qualification for the job.

After phone interviews, the number will be trimmed, with four to six people expected to be invited for an in-person oral board panel made up of city managers or deputies to pick two finalists to be interviewed by the City Council.

After that, the city would have to negotiate with the top candidate. 

“The hope is you’d only be without a permanent city administrator for one or two months,” Carter said. “I underline that that could change.There’s always a risk that you all don’t like a candidate.”

Two of four candidates expected to be invited to the oral board are from out of the area and would need time to relocate to the Central Coast.

“Most of the candidates are making more than I am making,” Carter said.

The advertisement said salary would depend on qualifications and included his salary, with the staff making clear in the phone calls with candidates the cash-strapped city has little room for negotiations. 

Before Carter arrived, the city hired retired Santa Maria City Manager Tim Ness to fill in until a permanent leader could be hired and start.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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