The Los Banos City Council, at its June 20 meeting, agreed to interview three executive recruitment firms, one which will assist the council in recruiting a permanent city manager for Los Banos.

The three firms to be interviewed at the next mutually agreed upon meeting are

  • Koff and Associates, Berkeley, California.
  • ProRecruiters, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
  • Sectaris Partners, Merced, California.

During public forum, a resident and business owner of Los Banos, Kathy Ballard, asked the council members why they were not choosing another candidate from the recruitment firm of Bob Murray and Associates.

Last year, after the council terminated previous Los Banos City Manager Alex Terrazas, it agreed to choose Bob Murray and Associates as their recruitment firm to help them find another city manager.

The contract with that firm included a proviso that if the candidate chosen for city manager did not complete a year in that position, the firm would offer more candidates for a replacement.

The council, however, instead of using Murray and Associates’ recommendations, hired Josh Pinheiro.

“If the council, with Murray and Associates, hired one of their recommended candidates, the firm would have provided search services for one year at no cost,” Mayor Tom Faria said towards the end of the council meeting.

Because Josh Pinheiro was not recommended by Murray and Associates, the city must spend additional money to hire and choose a candidate for a new, permanent city manager from one of the three recruitment firms.

Council member Brett Jones proposed that the council should bring all three recruitment firms forward during a regularly scheduled city council meeting to hear their presentations. All council members agreed, except for council member Deborah Lewis.

“Koff and Associates gave us a list of their successful recruitments, the other agencies did not.” Lewis said. “I don’t know if interviewing all these three would serve any purpose.”

Council member Refugio Llamas supported Jones’ request to bring the three search firms forward at a regularly scheduled meeting because, he said, it promotes public disclosure and participation.

The council ultimately voted 4-1 to interview all three recruitment agencies, with Lewis being the only member to vote against it.

In other actions, the council unanimously approved a noise variance for the construction of the new police station, located at 1111 G Street, and approved a cancellation of the regularly scheduled city council meeting for September 7.

A Certificate of Recognition was also awarded to Sarah Sanchez, dispatch supervisor for the Los Banos Police Department and Employee of the Month.