The Lindsay City Council may have held its shortest meeting ever when it met to discuss appointing an interim city manager on July 6.
After a brief pause to take public comments at the afternoon special meeting held at the Community Development Conference Room — there were none — the council adjourned for an executive session to discuss hiring an interim city manager. Councilman Steven Mecum was absent.
When they returned, Mayor Ramona Villarreal-Padilla made a brief statement before adjourning the gathering.
“We are back in session,” she said, “with nothing to report.”
During the closed-door meeting, the four council members on hand reportedly agreed in a 4-0 vote to offer the job to Bill Zigler, the city’s economic development, planning and zoning director. They were scheduled to vote publicly on filling the position at their regular meeting on July 14.
Veteran to the Helm
Zigler, a veteran of 21 years in the US Navy who joined the staff at Lindsay City Hall 15 years ago, began his career with the city as an intern. He will temporarily fill the position left vacant by the departure, under a dark cloud, of former City Manager Rick Wilkinson. Wilkinson had accused three members of the council, Villarreal-Padilla, Sanchez and Mecum, of conspiring with former Lindsay police officer Bryan Clower to have him removed from his job without receiving a severance package.
Wilkinson and the city have since settled their differences, with Wilkinson departing his job and receiving a severance package worth some $240,000. Wilkinson was named Lindsay’s Man of the Year in 2013.
In June, City Clerk Carmen Wilson was appointed as acting city manager. Zigler will have formally replaced her July 14, if the council voted to approve the change in job title.
Grand Jury Complaint
Meanwhile, citizens led by Lindsay businessman Brian Watson have taken their complaints about council actions to the Tulare County Grand Jury. At the council’s June 23 meeting, Watson said he believed the council had violated the Brown Open Meeting Act, the Lindsay City Charter and had engaged in influence peddling known as a quid pro quo violation, which is a federal crime.
The Lindsay City Council meets on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers at Lindsay City Hall, 251 E. Honolulu Ave.