Small group shapes city manager search
by Michael Langley
May 01, 2014 | 4963 views | 12 12 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Public meeting
Robert Tanner (center) speaks during a public meeting with the firm hired to search for the new Tracy city manager Wednesday at the City Hall council chambers.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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Seven city residents turned out for a public meeting Wednesday with the management firm that is searching for a new city manager for Tracy.

The residents told Bobbi Peckham of Peckham & McKenney Executive Search, the firm retained by the city council to find candidates for city manager, about the qualities and experience they want in a new city manager and what they think about the community and city government.

“I’m waiting for someone to tell me their viewpoint, their perspective. That’s critical to me,” Peckham said after the hour-long meeting in the City Hall council chambers.

She told those who attended that she expects to find the very best candidates for Tracy.

“I think that this opportunity should be very attractive to people because of what is anticipated here in Tracy,” Peckham said during the meeting.

Mike Donaghy, chairman of the board for the Tracy Chamber of Commerce, told Peckham that the city manager should not only continue the business practices the city has undertaken in the past few years but also be accessible to the public.

“I think our former city manager was visible and attended a lot of community events, and I think it’s important the new city manager be involved in the community as well,” Donaghy said.

Resident Robert Tanner said he hopes Peckham finds city manager candidates who are familiar with what Tracy is going through right now.

“I’d like to see a manager possibly coming from a small town that’s now becoming a mid-sized or much larger town so that we have that experience,” Tanner said to Peckham, adding that he believes Tracy is on the verge of even more growth.

Tanner said the priorities for the city manager must be a balance between jobs and quality of life in Tracy.

“If I look at even balances between housing and jobs, you would have to add a third one on there: recreation,” Tanner said, referring to the Legacy Fields youth sports complex and a planned aquatic center.

Tracy resident Michel Bazinet told Peckham he thinks the city manager should guide the government to behave more like a business.

“I think that one of the more important characteristics of the person that should be city manager is somebody who looks at community outreach much the same way as organizations look at customer service,” Bazinet said.

Peckham said the points brought up in the meeting were things she had heard before during interviews with the City Council members, city managers and other community members, with one exception:

“(It was) more supportive than I had anticipated. Supportive of the organization, which is wonderful to hear,” she said after the workshop.

Businessman Dave Helm was the first to praise the city staff.

“The staff here does a great job, but they’re just stretched thin,” Helm said, adding that the economy has impacted what Tracy was known for.

“People’s expectation is that you move to Tracy because they’ve got good service, and they want that same service, but the dollars aren’t there.”

Donaghy agreed.

“I know the city’s had significant budget cuts (and) personnel cuts. I think they’re doing a pretty darn good job,” the West Valley Mall manager said. “My experience with the city is: They do a lot more right than wrong, and it’s been a very good experience working with the folks down here at the city.”

Peckham said after the meeting that the residents’ positive feelings about the city could help convince some candidates to apply.

“That’s encouraging to me. It’s easier for me to recruit if I have a sense of what everyone is thinking or feeling,” she said.

Peckham added that the size of the crowd was also an indication that the city is generally doing a good job.

“Not having a lot of people show up gives me the sense that a lot of things are OK,” she said.

Peckham told the group she intends to recruit aggressively and hopes to have a new city manager in place by September. Peckham added that residents can still offer comments through email at bobbi@peckhamandmckenney.com.

• Contact Michael Ellis Langley at mlangley@tracypress.com or 830-4231.
Comments
(12)
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DunkMan
|
May 02, 2014
The City's automated system that automatically emails to subscribers any or all of the 32 different categories of information that might be of interest to you works well. I received an email, in the form of a press release, regarding this meeting a week before it was held. And if you subscribe to this service, you never have to remember to check the City's website for new items.
fortheunderdog
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May 02, 2014
Most residents do not subscribe to the Stockton Record and had no advanced notice this meeting was taking place.

It's evident this city did not want to advertise this meeting for fear some residents with concerns would show up.

And no......we do not need a swim center. If the Tracy Triton's want a pool, let the members families build and maintain it.
gretchensthoughts
|
May 02, 2014
Most people use Facebook and get their updates that way. Governments have switched over to using it. That and the newspaper also has a Facebook page. But that's probably not what you meant. You probably don't have a Facebook page and were waiting for them to mail you a post card.

;)
bobrod
|
May 01, 2014
The meeting was not published in the TP, It was in the Stockton Record last week? Ya, what do you expect when the city has a "Press Release" section on their website, But seldomly use it. We should write a letter to the editorial board to complain, like that will do any good. The TP is the official voice of this administration, they tell us what the City gov wants them to......
bobrod
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May 01, 2014
Gee I wonder if this time the city and or Peckham et al will do a background check on any applicant they consider. Im just hoping it's more of a background they did last time. Just looking up someone on Google is not enough.
eyeballs
|
May 01, 2014
We need a swim center.
Wobbley
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May 01, 2014
I'd have gone to the meeting but I work in the Bay Area because the technology center that Tracy was touting in 2002-2003 never broke ground.
gretchensthoughts
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May 01, 2014
The technology center was a Sutter Hospital expansion. If you are tech savvy you can start a YouTube channel and make money. One person on YouTube makes six figures teaching how to tie a tie. Another teaches math. Orgami. Etc.

Stop blaming people for your problems.
NoniA
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May 01, 2014
I am also wondering why if you wanted input from the PEOPLE of Tracy we were not notified...We are not as important as the seven people who were?

Maybe you can set up another meeting so more than seven people could actually attend and open a site for those who commute so they could voice their opinion prior to the meeting.

rosa62
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May 01, 2014
The notice for this meeting was published last week.....

In the Stockton Record!!!

rosa62
|
May 01, 2014
Rayderfan posted a copy of the article from the Record on April 27, 2014 under the article about the high cost of public records requests.

He/she also asked the editor; Mr. Langley, why the Tracy Press wasn't running an article about something this important taking place here in Tracy.

I guess when you're in the City's back pocket you can run your newspaper without worrying about public interest.

C3TJ
|
May 01, 2014
Gee, I guess writing an article about this meeting BEFORE it occurred would've been too much trouble?


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