The Hughson City Council on Thursday picked a temporary city manager even though it's still paying someone else to do the job.
The 3-2 vote to bring former Hughson City Manager Dave Whiteside back to City Hall could stoke concerns that the council had him picked months ago for the seat held by City Manager Joe Donabed.
That charge has been lingering in town since the same majority voted on Oct. 19 to give Donabed a "notice of intent to terminate his contract."
Donabed is not working for the city, but he's still on Hughson's payroll, at least until a Nov. 23 meeting at which the council is expected to take a final vote on whether to fire him.
It's not clear yet how much Whiteside will earn or for how long he'll be asked to stay on as city manager. Those details are being worked out between Whiteside and Hughson's city attorney.
"I don't have an agenda to bring David in," said Councilman Doug Humphreys, who voted with Thom Crowder and Ben Manley to hire Whiteside. "We need to fix some of the issues we have, and I think David's a good fix for those issues."
Humphreys said he'd want the council to conduct an open, outside search for a city manager if it votes to fire Donabed this month.
Councilman Matt Beekman voted against hiring Whiteside. Beekman was upset that his colleagues called a special meeting on short notice to hire Whiteside, and that the city didn't seek out any other applicants.
"I didn't look at a résumé," Beekman said. "I have no understanding of his background. I felt we should open up the process to include more applicants than one. We're rushing into something."
One person was pleased with the council vote: Planning and Building Director Thom Clark. Clark is doing his own job, as well as filling in as the city public works director and its acting city manager.
"That's too much," he said. "Frankly, I was asking the City Council for help."
Bee Assistant City Editor Adam Ashton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2366.