The Los Banos City Council, in a 3-2 vote, at its June 15 meeting terminated city manager Josh Pinheiro. The action was reported out at 9:51 p.m. after a closed session following the council’s open session.

Voting for termination were Mayor Tom Faria and council members Deborah Lewis and Refugio Llamas. Council members Brett Jones and Kenneth Lambert voted against termination.

Mayor Pro Tem Kenneth Lambert read the following statement: “By a vote of 3 to 2 the City Council has taken action to terminate city manager Josh Pinheiro’s at-will employment with the city without cause pursuant to his employment agreement with the city.” No further explanation was given before the meeting was then adjourned.

Lambert read the statement because Mayor Tom Faria, in quarantine for COVID, was not present at the open session but joined the closed session and cast his vote by phone.

The only indication that an action like this would be forthcoming was the last item on the city council meeting’s agenda, which  read, “Public Employee Discipline/Dismissal/Release, Pursuant to Government Code Section 54957(b).”

Faria told the Westside Express that “the mayor is working with staff and legal counsel to prepare for the next steps.”

Gene Lieb