Ad hoc and community advisory committees will also be part of process

PASO ROBLES — Two nights after Paso Robles City Manager Tom Frutchey announced he was retiring, the City Council held a special meeting Thursday, Nov. 19, to discuss finding a replacement.

Tom Frutchey

During Nov. 17 City Council meeting, Frutchey announced his last day as City Manager would be Feb. 4, 2021.

With a 5-0 vote, the Council approved enlisting a professional recruitment firm to vet all candidates, establishing an ad hoc committee to shepherd the process, and forming a community advisory committee.

Mayor Steve Martin and Councilmember Fred Strong will serve on the ad hoc committee.

City Council has used a professional recruitment firm to help search for a City Manager in the past. A firm was used in the search that led to Frutchey’s hiring in January of 2016.

Councilmember John Hamon suggested creating the public committee to assist in the decision for the next City Manager.

“When we get down to the final few, definitely would like to have the public involved, a select group of maybe nine or so that we can count on to also review the candidates,” he said.

City staff reached out to several recruiting firms to estimate the cost and received a range of $30,000-$35,000. This includes professional fees and expenses. A specific price will depend on the recruitment process’s scope, for example, if the Council wants a statewide or nationwide search and what type of interview panel the city wants to hold.

Mayor Martin expressed what was important to him in the process.

“For me, the points that are very important are obviously public involvement and transparency in the process, everyone needs to understand how this works, and we should have the input of a committee to expand that transparency and make sure people have confidence in the process,” Martin said. We need consistent vetting of all candidates, so we don’t have any sort of dual track between one set of candidates and another and are very interested in controlling costs and making this a timely process. this is something we don’t have time to spend six to eight months on.”

Councilmember Maria Elena Garcia said the process needs to be fair.

“If we do have someone in our community that wants to apply for this position, just want to make it fair for them to apply,” she said.

The Council intends to begin the process of finding a new City Manager immediately and hopes to have a replacement ready to take Frutchey’s place in February.

Getting through this together, Paso Robles