For the past six months, interim City Manager and Police Chief Gary Hampton's job description has read something like this: Work two jobs for no extra pay. Balance the budget. Keep quarreling City Council members at bay.
Hampton says it's time for a vacation, his first in a year. The Bee showed up at City Hall on Thursday to ask Hampton about his former second job. He's back in uniform as a full-time police chief this week. (Hampton's answers have been edited for length).
Q: How many hours did you average per week splitting your time between City Hall and the Police Department?
A: I know it's going to sound ridiculous, but my hours per week average 70 to 75 hours. I get in at 5:30 in the morning and go home between 6 and 6:30 p.m.
Q: How do you plan to relax now?
A: I'm taking a "staycation." I was born and raised in California, but I've only been to Yosemite one time in my 48 years. (My wife and I) will go to Monterey and go mountain bike riding. We're going to Lake Tahoe for some fishing. I'm going to catch up on home chores.
Q: Why didn't you want the city manager job?
A: We've changed everything about the (police) department. I want to see it through. For me to walk out, that doesn't fit my personality.
Q: What were the best and worst things about the city manager gig?
A: What I enjoyed most was having a chance to interact with the community on broader issues than just law enforcement. As a police chief, when people contact me, generally, there's a problem.
But there probably couldn't have been a worse time to serve as an interim city manager. For the first time in 15-plus years, the City Council has changed tremendously. It's a council that has not spent a lot of time working together. It's clearly a City Council that sees things in the community from different perspectives. The economy in California is suffering like (we've) never experienced before. We were seeing upwards of $6 million less in revenue to operate the city. It's been the perfect storm. I think I've weathered the storm.
Q: What advice or briefing did you give new City Manager Roy Wasden?
A: Turlock is unique in that it has experienced staff; the turnover is almost nonexistent. You're going to be inundated with issues, but it will be reassuring to know we have a lot of seasoned people ... usually with a myriad of recommendations to address those issues. You need to open your ears and close your mouth.