List three things that you especially like about living in Salinas, then list the top three issues facing the city. And then list the skills, education and experience necessary for a city manager to be successful.
Those were the quick and dirty questions, provided in English and Spanish, in a survey the city of Salinas sent out as it launched the recruitment process for a new city manager following the retirement of Ray Corpuz, whose last day was Sept. 29.
On Oct. 20, City Council will meet in closed session to try to winnow down the application pool and schedule interviews – also in closed session – come Nov. 10. But the council the new city manager works for won’t be the same council conducting the interviews: Current councilmembers Gloria de la Rosa and Tony Villegas are not seeking re-election, Councilmember Scott Davis faces a challenger in the Nov. 3 election and a new mayor will be in place, with that seat open following the death of Mayor Joe Gunter.
Mayor Pro Tem Christie Cromeenes says that as of Oct. 6, 14 people had applied, including some who are local. A contract human resources consultant leading the recruitment process says the number is much higher, but he declined to specify.
The recruitment process, being led by CPS HR Consulting, would normally involve more direct public input. A subcommittee, consisting of Cromeenes, de la Rosa and Davis, asked each councilmember to generate a list of constituents for the HR consultant to contact directly: among those, the Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce and various members of the faith community.
“I wasn’t feeling really comfortable with the attitude that this is something City Council gets to decide,” Cromeenes says. “It’s our job to hire a city manager, but ordinarily we would be meeting with the chamber and MILPA and doing all of those outreaches that because of Covid, we couldn’t do.”