HANFORD — The Hanford City Council held a special meeting Monday to discuss the city’s options now that City Manager Darrel Pyle has tendered his resignation.
After about an hour and a half in closed session, during which Council was scheduled to discuss Pyle’s resignation and whether or not they would like to hire an interim city manager, Council came out of closed chambers to hold open session in front of the public.
The only item that was reported out of closed sessions was the Council’s decision to extend Pyle’s contract, which was set to expire on June 30. The contract was amended to extend just a few more days until July 5 to allow Pyle some time to finish up city business he’s currently working on.
Next, each Council member shared what they would like to see in terms of an interim city manager.
All of the members expressed their wish to have someone local, if not from Hanford specifically then at least from the Central Valley, in the interim position.
A few Council members also agreed that the interim should not have any intention of becoming the permanent city manager. Mayor Sue Sorensen said this opens up the possibility for a retired city manager who would be fine filling in for a short period of time.
Search for an interim will begin immediately. Once someone is chosen, they will most likely keep that position for only about six months.
As for a new permanent city manager, the city’s human resources department will spearhead the recruitment process. The job posting should go up sometime in the next few weeks and be open for about a month.
Council members again expressed their wish to look for candidates from California, preferably from the Valley, who have experience with agricultural communities similar in size to Hanford that are facing the same issues, like water and homelessness.
“I’d prefer to look around this Valley first, I think there’s a lot of good people,” Councilman Martin Devine said, adding the search can go statewide or beyond if no one suitable is found locally.
Sorensen said she didn’t want the search to be too restricted because she didn’t want to miss quality applicants.
“If you go too narrow, then you just don’t have choice,” Sorensen said.
Councilman Francisco Ramirez said he wouldn’t mind a more broad search if need be. However, he said whether or not the applicant is from the area, he would like to see the person commit to living in Hanford if they are offered the job.
Vice Mayor John Draxler added the city needs to make sure the candidate is fully vetted to make sure that they are the right person for the job.
“Don’t just accept what’s there,” Draxler said.
As this process moves forward, Sorensen said community members will have more opportunities to give input on the qualities they would like to see in a city manager.
Council hopes to have a new city manager in place by the end of the year.