Council appoints new manager

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! PICO RIVERA – A clearly divided City Council voted 3-2 Tuesday night to appoint Chuck Fuentes as city manager, ending a long, controversial selection process.The council majority that came to power in last March’s elections – Mayor David Armenta and councilmen Ron Beilke and Pete Ramirez – voted to hire Fuentes. Councilmembers Gregory Salcido and Carlos Garcia cast the dissenting votes.Following the firing in April of longtime City Manager Dennis Courtmarche, Debbie Lopez has served as interim city manager. Fuentes was appointed by the same council as executive city consultant in May.“I’m deeply grateful for the opportunity and humbled at the charge to lead the city,” Fuentes said. “And I will do my best to address the many serious challenges we face in this city.”Beilke is a friend and longtime supporter of Fuentes. He said he selected Fuentes from a field of six finalists because he is uniquely qualified to serve as Pico Rivera’s city manager.“What we need is a city manager with established relationships at the county, state and federal level to find new funding sources for our city,” Beilke said. “Chuck is the right person at the right time because he has worked in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., and has deep alliances and good contacts.”Fuentes, 53, will take the position immediately. His salary will be $145,000 per year. He will have a one-year contract, and will be subject to a review in six months, said Beilke.Salcido said he opposed the hiring because Fuentes is unqualified and a political ally of the majority council.“All concerned residents and law enforcement officials should recognize that this individual, aside from possessing no relevant professional experience or education, participated in the campaigns of councilmembers in which the termination of the city manager was an objective,” he said. “This individual has now been awarded a position he worked to make available.”Several members of a community activist group opposed to the hiring of Fuentes because of his lack of a bachelor’s degree and city management experience, also spoke out at Tuesday’s meeting.“All of the other candidates have exceptional educations and hold good positions, so I cannot understand how he would excel,” said Miguel Meraz, a member of Pico Rivera Community for Truth in Politics. “It seems to me that this whole process was a big facade and he was selected because of his friendship with some council members.”The other five finalists, selected from a field of 31 candidates, all hold bachelor’s degrees. Several also hold master’s degrees.Fuentes has taken classes at UC Berkeley and Cal State Fullerton but has not earned a bachelor’s degree.He worked as chief administrative officer for the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, where he served as a political advisor to former Los Angeles Mayor James K. Hahn, according to his resume.He also worked as chief of staff for Rep. Grace Napolitano, D-Santa Fe Springs, and served for 26 years on the Democratic State Central Committee. [email protected](562) 698-0955, Ext. 3028last_img

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