Charles Doud/The Madera Tribune
Ron Manfredi (wearing glasses), at the Madera City Council meeting Wednesday night, listens as the Council discusses whether to hire him as a consultant.
The Madera City Council Wednesday night voted to hire Ron Manfredi of Madera to consult with interim City Administrator Steve Frazier and the Council about an audit of the enterprise fund, a management compensation study and recruitment for a permanent city administrator.
Manfredi is a former assistant city administrator for Madera and is the former city manager of Kerman. He also served as a longtime member of the State Center Community College Board of Trustees.
Frazier said Manfredi would be paid $25,000 for the work he has been hired to do.
Manfredi will be stepping into a politically tainted arena.
He was hired after concerns were aired that the salaries of certain management staff members of the city were too high, and that money from the enterprise fund that finances the city’s water and sewer utility was being used illegally to pay parts of those salaries, and that as a result, utility rates had doubled.
However, no proof was offered to back up claims of fund misuse, and some citizens thought outside eyes should take a look at the funds and how they are operated.
Blame settled on Mayor Andy Medellin and the City Council for approving the management salaries, and as a result Maderan Vickie Sloan, a frequent and vocal council critic, has threatened to launch a recall, and has even pulled papers for it from the Madera County elections office. However, no actual recall has been launched.
A review of salaries and water rates was already under way, Frazier reported to the Council Feb. 7.
“I will share with Council that our review has already identified some practices that we will be changing, which will make our budget process more transparent to review and more easily understandable,” he wrote in the Feb. 7 report.
One issue Manfredi probably will look at is how much money from restricted funds is apportioned to internal management, and whether all that money is justifiable.
Another part of Manfredi’s job will be to conduct two public forums on governance, one that he will conduct fairly soon, and another he will conduct at the end of his service to the city.