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City of Modesto hires department heads

Modesto City Manager Greg Nyhoff fleshed out his executive team Tuesday, hiring new heads for the city's finance and human resources departments.

Gloriette Beck will direct the Finance Department and Dee Williams-Ridley will head Human Resources.

Beck is the chief financial officer for Sacramento County's Municipal Services Agency. A certified public accountant, Beck has 15 years experience with Sacramento County. She holds a bachelor's degree in business from California State University, Sacramento.

Williams-Ridley now works as the assistant human resources director for San Mateo County. She has more than 15 years of experience. Williams-Ridley holds a bachelor's degree in government from CSU, Sacramento.

Nyhoff has had an unusual amount of latitude to fill top City Hall jobs since he came to Modesto in June 2008. Some executives took early retirement packages in the spring; some left for other cities, such as former Police Chief Roy Wasden, who became Turlock's city manager in June.

Beck and Williams-Ridley will earn an annual salary of $139,453.

That's slightly lower pay than their predecessors. Former Finance Director Wayne Padilla earned $146,482 in 2008 before leaving the city to become Chowchilla's assistant city administrator in July. Former Human Resources Director Robin Renwick earned $153,516 in 2008. She took an early retirement after leading the department for 18 years.

Even with the new Human Resources director on board, the city will continue to use a consultant for "higher-level" personnel issues, such as upcoming contract negotiations with five city unions, Interim Deputy City Manager Jim Miguel said.

"There's no way that the new HR person could come in and be the administrator of five contract negotiations," Miguel said. "There's an HR department to run, and this is above and beyond that. There's still a lot of HR work that needs to be done as a result of the downsizing of the organization."

The City Council last month extended a contract with its human resources consultants, the Sacramento law firm Renne, Sloan, Holtzman & Sakai LLP. The cost of the contract extension was $84,000, which increased the total value of the contract to $164,000.

Next on Nyhoff's list will be to hire a budget director, a position he created this year. The city hasn't started recruiting for that position.

Miguel, who is also the fire chief, will continue to stand in as interim deputy city manager.

No decision has been made regarding the city's police chief position, Nyhoff said through a spokeswoman Tuesday. Assistant Chief Mike Harden took over as acting chief when Wasden left.

Bee staff writer Leslie Albrecht can be reached at lalbrecht@modbee.com or 578-2378. Follow her at Twitter.com/BeeReporter.

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