Towns searching for permanent department heads

Two South Valley cities are looking for new city managers in the New Year. On top of that, one of those is also looking for a new police chief.

Farmersville’s city manager, John Jansons, moved to manage a Northern California city in October. Exeter’s city manager, Randy Groom, has been hired as city manager for Visalia, as of the first of the year. And Exeter’s top cop, Cliff Bush, retired last May.

“We did not want him to go,” Farmersville Mayor Paul Boyer has said of Jansons. But, “he’s found a job, I think, that’s good for his career, so it makes sense.”

In Farmersville, the chief of police, Mario Krstic, has been serving as interim city manager since Jansons’ departure.

He has filled the position before – serving in the dual capacity prior to Jansons’ hiring a couple of years ago.

But, the city has avidly been searching for its new manager, narrowing the field of applicants.

“We’ve received quite a number of applications,” Boyer said.

The field has been narrowed to what the council deems the best possible fits for the city. The hope is to make a final decision by February, although a special city council meeting called for Thursday, January 4, will either result in a final few, or perhaps the top pick being selected. A background check will be required, Boyer explained, and then contract negotiation will take place.

Boyer expects a new city manager to be in place by the end of April or early May.

Retired Visalia police Lieutenant Jeff McIntosh has been serving as interim chief in Exeter. For interim positions, Exeter has often chosen an outside retired source to serve in temporary department management positions, Randy Groom explained.

“They wanted someone not interested in the permanent chief position,” he said.

This allows for an outside evaluation within the department, prior to a permanent replacement being chosen. Likewise, for the city manager position, former Visalia deputy city manager Eric Frost was named as interim manager for Exeter at the December 19 city council meeting.

Recruitment for the police chief position ended in December. Exeter has been narrowing its field of applicants and should be naming a permanent chief early in the year. The city manager position is currently open for application through January 15.

Admittedly, December is a tough time for recruitment, Groom said.

However, both cities have seen quite a few applications for each open position.

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