The Turlock City Council held a special closed session meeting, along with the regular City Council Meeting on Tuesday night, and then announced that Council approved to appoint current Modesto Police Chief Roy Wasden, 55 of Modesto, as the new Turlock City Manager.
After a 3-2 vote (supported by Vice Mayor Howze, Councilman Spycher, and Councilwoman Bublak) to fire former City Manager Tim Kerr in January, Turlock Police Chief Gary Hampton has also served as the Interim City Manager for about the last four months.
Kerr’s firing came as a heightened point of conflict within the City of Turlock.
The City Council began a search for another City Manager by hiring Bob Murray & Associates to recruit qualified applicants. There were over 50 applicants and the City Council interviewed the top candidates.
The Turlock City Manager job posting put out by the recruiting firm was looking to pay $167,256-$203,316 (with DOQ and a generous benefits package) for at least five years of increasingly responsible municipal administrative experience, with at least three years working in a City Manager or Assistant City Manager capacity.
Roy Wasden has never been a City Manager or Assistant City Manger but convinced Council that he meets the requirement to be a politically astute City Manager with strong consensus building and to have negotiation skills that are needed. Wasden also was chosen to fit the requirements of being an ideal candidate that will be honest, straightforward, and able to achieve the respect of the Council by subscribing to the rule of “no surprises” and keeping Council members equally and well informed.
Though the job description stated that it is highly desired the new City Manager live in town, Wasden will not be relocating from his Modesto residence to Turlock.
The vote to appoint Roy Wasden as Turlock City Manager came in with a 3-1 vote supported by Mayor John Lazar, Vice Mayor Ted Howze, and Councilman Kurt Spycher. Councilwoman Mary Jackson was the only opposition. Councilwoman Amy Bublak voluntarily removed herself from the vote to avoid the appearance of impropriety as Wasden is currently her superior at the Modesto Police Department where she works also.
The contract details are not available because the contract has not been finalized. The contract should be finalized at the next City Council Meeting on May 26, 2009.
Roy Wasden should officially fill the position of City Manager before July 1, 2009 after he wraps things up with his former City of Modesto employer.
Wasden commented during an interview after the announcement of his hiring that he would prioritize “those things that have made Turlock such a wonderful community, we need to build on them.”
When asked by media about all the conflict going on with the Turlock City Council and within the community right now, Wasden said “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with differences in opinion, as a matter of fact, I think good government requires differences in opinion.”
Mayor Lazar addressed a similar question and said “I’m not going to ignore the fact this is a very diverse Council and that we’ve had some issues with staff as well. We need a healer and I think Roy could be the person who could help improve relations amongst not only the Council but the staff and community. I have high hopes for him.”
Councilman Kurt Spycher stated that Wasden was his top choice when it became very clear early on in Council’s interview process that he stood out above the rest.
Vice Mayor Ted Howze summed it up with “right man, right time.”
Councilwoman Amy Bublak commented only that “I look forward to continue to work with him.”
Councilwoman Mary Jackson would not comment on Council’s decision to appoint Roy Wasden as Turlock City Manager.
The City of Turlock distributed a press release right after the announcement stating:
The City Council of the City of Turlock is honored to announce the appointment of Roy Wasden to the position of City Manager. Mr. Wasden has over 30 years of experience in the public sector and holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Management from the University of Utah. Mr. Wasden started his career with the Salt Lake City Police Department and quickly rose through the ranks which culminated in his position as Chief of Police of the Modesto Police Department for the past 9 years. He has been responsible for an organization of more than 400 employees and a budget of $54 million. Mr. Wasden is well known in the community as an excellent leader and manager and brings his impeccable credentials and his vast range of experience to the position of City Manager.
“I am extremely pleased for the City of Turlock, but more importantly for the citizens of Turlock, that we have found such an experienced professional to lead the City. While there are challenges that lie ahead, Mr. Wasden’s experience, seasoned leadership, and character make him a perfect fit for this position. I am looking forward to working with Mr. Wasden and the Council to meet these challenges,” said Mayor Lazar.
“It has been a pleasure to serve the Modesto community and to lead the great men and women of the Modesto Police Department. I believe my 30 years of public sector experience has prepared me for the opportunity to serve as the City Manager of Turlock. I want to thank the Mayor and the City Council Members for the honor and privilege of the appointment. Turlock is a special community and I look forward to serving the City Council and the community and working with city staff to enhance the quality of service and life in Turlock,” said Mr. Wasden.
Roy Wasden Bio:
Roy Wasden was sworn-in as Chief of Police for the City of Modesto Police Department on Monday, August 7, 2000. Before coming to Modesto, Chief Wasden was the Executive Assistant Chief for the Salt Lake City Police Department and brought with him 24 years of law enforcement and teaching experience. He held numerous management positions for the Utah agency, including Acting Police Chief, Investigations Bureau Chief, Operations Bureau Chief, and Technical Services Bureau Chief.
Chief Wasden earned a business management degree from the University of Utah. He intends to complete a masters program. He strongly believes education is a critical part of being an effective police officer.
Chief Wasden enjoys outdoor activities and his favorite hobby is fly-fishing. He loves to read and spend time with his family.
Turlock City Manager Job Recruitment:
In the heart of California’s Central Valley, Turlock (population 70,000) is the second largest city in Stanislaus County and continues to balance a small-town atmosphere and friendly attitude with the conveniences and opportunities of a bigger city. The City currently has approved budget allocations for 389 employees. The General Fund budget for fiscal year 2008/09 is $34,002,198. Turlock is a full service city providing municipal services through seven departments. The City Council is seeking an experienced leader and proven manager with uncompromising ethics and the highest level of integrity. A politically astute City Manager with strong consensus building and negotiation skills is needed. The ideal candidate will be honest, straightforward, and able to achieve the respect of the Council by subscribing to the rule of “no surprises” and keeping Council members equally and well informed. The new Manager will be visible in the community and open and interested in building a strong relationship with the residents of Turlock. It is highly desired that the new City Manager live in town. The ideal candidate will be an approachable manager who provides clear direction to staff and leads by example. While the City has healthy financial reserves in place, they are currently facing a budget deficit. As such, the new City Manager must possess solid financial/budgetary and creative problem skills in order to effectively address this issue. A Bachelor’s degree in political science, business administration or related field is required; a Master’s degree is preferred. At least five years of increasingly responsible municipal administrative experience is also required, with at least three years working in a City Manager or Assistant City Manager capacity. The salary range is $167,256-$203,316, DOQ and the City offers a generous benefits package.