HANFORD — The Hanford City Council welcomed two new personnel members at its meeting Tuesday as the fire chief was sworn in and the city manager’s contract was approved.
Though he’s been on the job since Oct. 21, Hanford Fire Department Chief Steve Pendergrass was officially sworn in Tuesday evening.
Pendergrass has had a 28-year career as a firefighter, the last 20 years with the Kern County Fire Department, where he promoted to the rank of battalion chief.
In addition to his experience and education, Interim City Manager Mike Olmos said Pendergrass is a great person to be around and is being received well by the department, the city and the community.
“We’re just very happy to have him on board,” Olmos said.
The entire fire department attended the meeting to witness Pendergrass take his oath, and Pendergrass said he was honored and humbled to be a part of the department and the city.
Pendergrass said he’s been blown away with the level of professionalism, compassion and desire to serve that the Hanford firefighters have shown.
“I thank you all for this amazing opportunity and I promise to serve with integrity, honor and service always,” Pendergrass said.
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After a months-long search, Hanford has found its next city manager in Mario Cifuentez II.
Cifuentez comes to Hanford from the city of Visalia and brings over 30 years of municipal government experience in various capacities.
Council unanimously voted Tuesday to approve his employment agreement, which includes an annual salary of $162,011.
Cifuentez will be taking the reins from Olmos, who was hired as interim city manager after previous city manager Darrel Pyle announced his resignation in June.
Olmos, in his last meeting, extended his thanks to the council for allowing him to serve as interim for the last several months. He said Hanford is a great community and he commended the department heads and staff for all their work.
Mayor Sue Sorensen thanked Olmos for his hard work and said the city enjoyed his leadership and learned a lot from his experience.
Sorensen said the council is very excited to have Cifuentez with the city. His first day on the job will be Nov. 18 and he will be introduced at the next regularly-scheduled council meeting on Nov. 19.