LEMOORE — The City Council approved an employment agreement Tuesday with retired Corcoran City Manager Ron Hoggard, who previously served as an assistant city manager in Lemoore.
City Manager Jeff Laws, who will retire on March 6, said he will be in contact with Hoggard prior to his March 2 start date. The transition period will include meetings with city department heads and bringing Hoggard up to speed on what each department is working on.
Among Hoggard’s chief tasks to accomplish over the next few months will be the recruitment of a permanent city manager, overseeing the preparation of the city’s 2015-16 budget and appointing an interim public works/planning director after David Wlaschin retires in April.
Hoggard previously served as interim city manager in Hanford after the dismissal of Hilary Straus in early 2012. However, he resigned just seven weeks into his appointment to focus on a bid for the District 2 seat on the Kings County Board of Supervisors. He ultimately lost to the district’s incumbent, Richard Valle.
This time, Hoggard said, he doesn’t expect to leave his post so quickly.
“I’m not running for office,” Hoggard said. “Been there, done that. I’m totally focused on this.”
According to his employment agreement with the city, he will remain employed until the City Council appoints a permanent city manager, or until he has worked 960 total hours, whichever comes first. Because Hoggard is retired, the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) only allows him to work 960 hours per year before he must come out of retirement.
Hoggard said he said he hopes to have a permanent city manager hired by July or August.
Additionally, Hoggard said, he has not applied for the permanent position. For the past few years, he has run a consulting business called the Kings River Company, which focuses on connecting businesses and government agencies. He said his work has included working with the city of Avenal to build a plan for economic development.
“I am retired and I don’t see myself undoing that,” Hoggard said.
Meanwhile, Laws has been working to tie up some loose ends before he retires. Amid nearly two years of discussion regarding the future of the Lemoore Municipal Golf, Laws said, he is hoping to have a detailed presentation and budget document for the golf course ready to present by his final council meeting on March 3.
In other business Tuesday, the council approved a six-month extension for its agreement with the Lemoore Chamber of Commerce. The chamber’s existing contract would have expired at the end of June. Once the city has a better idea what the upcoming budget will look like, the council will consider a two-year agreement that would commence July 1.
There are a few items of city business that Laws said he won’t be able to see to completion, namely the $12.8 million Chevron Energy Solutions solar energy project. The project was expected to be completed last fall, but currently is not fully online.
“Some of the long-term things like the solar project, I don’t really have any control over,” Laws said.