Hughson City Council calls a special meeting

HUGHSON -- The city has a budget, but still no city manager. However, that might change today.

City Council members Monday night adopted the 2010-11 budget, but did not name a city manager, Interim City Clerk Michele Winterbottom said. The latter item had been on the evening's closed-session agenda.

Wednesday, the city announced a special meeting has been called for today at 5 p.m. at City Hall, 7018 Pine St. Discussion and possible appointment of a city manager is the single item on the agenda; the council will meet in closed session and then return to open session to announce any action.

Hughson has been without a city manager since Joe Donabed's contract ran out in May. The council voted earlier this year not to renew his contract.

An interview committee met with applicants in August. After three City Council members were recalled in a special election Aug. 23, the new council met with two finalists Sept. 6.

Council members also heard a report from the city's auditor, who reviewed its finances and made several recommendations to improve record-keeping and checks and balances.

Though the council adopted the budget, members decided to wait on a proposal to eliminate the job of director of public works/city engineer and create the job title of community development director. A report by Winterbottom suggests the city could save money by continuing to contract out for engineering services and consolidating the other two jobs under one title. She proposed the council designate the current director of building and planning as the community development director, offering a 10 percent wage increase to take over the additional public works duties.

Hughson's community development director, Thom Clark, has been serving as interim city manager while a permanent replacement is found. He is not seeking to keep the job.

The city's current director of public works, David Chase, is on leave while he awaits trial on charges he hacked into Hughson's computer system and deleted files last year.