At its August 3 meeting, Los Banos City Council, after discussing the three search firms it will interview to help in recruiting a permanent city manager, decided it would like to interview all three firms on the same day, if possible August 17.

For this to happen the three firms would  have to agree to meet with the council on August 17, the date of the next regularly scheduled city council meeting.

Only one firm said that they were available to attend in person (Sectaris Partners) but the other firms (Koff and Associates and ProRecruiters) were only available remotely. However, City Clerk Lucille Mallonee noted that all three firms preferred to do their interviews remotely.

“We could do it all in one day,” Mayor Tom Faria suggested. “We could schedule either Zoom in the morning and live in the evening, or we can do live in the morning and Zoom in the evening.” Mallonee said she would contact the firms about their availability for August 17.

Prior to making that decision, council members discussed the timing of the interviews. “For the one firm that is available to come in person,” Councilmember Brett Jones said, “I think that we should interview [that firm] in person. I’m sure the public would like to hear what they have to say.

“If the other two absolutely cannot make it, that is disappointing,” Jones added, “but then we can schedule a Zoom meeting with them on different dates.”

Council Member Deborah Lewis disagreed and maintained that all interviews should be done on the same day and should be scheduled as quickly as possible through Zoom.

Both Council Member Kenneth Lambert and Refugio Llamas were in favor of interviewing the available firm in person, so that there is some transparency with the public.

At the beginning of the meeting, a certificate of recognition was awarded to the Los Banos Little League Baseball 12-year-old All-Stars. “Only one team goes away at the end of the season happy,” said Mayor Tom Faria, “and you’re it.”

The council also recognized Los Banos Fire Engineer Joshua Houtekamer’s retirement from the Los Banos Fire Department after 16 years of service as a full-time city employee. Los Banos Fire Association President Juan Ramirez, accepting the award on behalf of Houtekamer, said, “I know if [Joshua] could, and if he had the opportunity to do it all again, he would.”

Malina Duran

Malina Duran’s email is