Peckham, from Peckham & McKenney of Sacramento, told council members about her concern Tuesday night during the regular council meeting.
“The only concern that I have is that oftentimes with the potential of three seats on the ballot, candidates may be less inclined to apply for the position,” Peckham said, referring to the end of Mayor Brent Ives’ tenure on the City Council and the election for the seats of councilmen Robert Rickman and Charles Manne.
“I do believe that we could have strong candidates apply for this position. I know that those strong candidates will be very concerned about the upcoming election,” she said.
Peckham told the council members she believed that the process, if good candidates applied, would take about six months, and a new city manager
could take office in September. Alternatively, if the council chose to wait until after the election and include new members in the process, the next city manager would not arrive in Tracy until March.
Ives asked if there was a cost associated with continuing the search past the election if the council didn’t get suitable applicants. Peckham indicated that the cost would be nominal.
Manne said he was willing to spend the money to find a city manager but wanted to start looking now.
“Let’s shoot for as soon as possible,” Manne said. “If we find a shining star, so be it. If we have to continue the process, and if it’s nominal, either way we’re going to spend money to find the right candidate to lead our city.”
Councilwoman Nancy Young agreed.
“I’m curious to see what pool we get from the beginning. If there’s really not a good first bunch, we can always delay it,” Young said.
Mayor Pro Tem Michael Maciel added that there was value to tapping Ives’ experience before he leaves office in November.
“If we proceed now, we have the benefit of the mayor’s experience, who is really the only one who has gone through this type of process,” Maciel said. “In a perfect world, I would like to think that someone who would consider coming to work in Tracy would primarily want to come to work in Tracy and not look at ‘I do or don’t want to work with this council’ or ‘I want to wait and see who might be on the next council.’”
At the end of the report, Maciel made a motion to start the search. Manne seconded the motion, which was approved unanimously.
Trouble filling Westside Market
The council also received a report from Amie Mendes, city economic development management analyst, about the search for a restaurant to anchor the city-owned Westside Market building, 729 and 741 Central Ave.
“The strategy in purchasing the Westside Market building was to develop a public-private partnership for the construction of a catalyst restaurant in downtown Tracy,” Mendes told the council.
Mendes said that even though the developer hired by the council Sept. 3 to find tenants or buyers for the building, W.M. Mitchell of Walnut Creek, had estimated that doing so would take nine to 12 months, the physical problems with the Westside Market were making things more difficult.
“The Westside Market building is a little unique in that it has significant rehab that is necessary
in order to move the project forward,” Mendes said to the council. “This has made the economics of the project quite challenging in comparison to some of the other buildings in downtown.”
Mendes said that with the developer’s help, the city was going to create new marketing materials that reflected the changes to downtown within the past six months, which could make the building a more attractive property.
“A new bar and lounge has just recently opened. We’ve also seen an Asian fusion restaurant, and we anticipate the opening of two more restaurants in downtown, as well as a craft beer house and two dessert and cupcake shops within the next few months,” she said.
The council members accepted the report and encouraged the city staff to continue its efforts to find a high-caliber restaurant for Westside Market.
• Contact Michael Ellis Langley at email@example.com or 830-4231.