DJ Becker/The Madera Tribune
From left, on the city council stage Wednesday night: Council Members Derek Robinson, Charles Rigby and CeCe Gallegos, newly welcomed City Manager Arnoldo Rodriguez, mayor Andy Medellin, Council Member Will Oliver, Mayor Pro Tem Jose Rodriguez and Council Member Donald Holley.
The Madera City Council voted unanimously Wednesday night to hire Arnoldo Rodriguez of Yuba City to become Madera’s next city manager starting Dec. 3rd.
Rodriguez was selected from six final candidates after a nationwide selection process by an executive consulting firm, according to Mayor Andy Medellin, who welcomed Rodriguez aboard after the vote.
Currently working as the director of Development Services in Yuba City for the last three years, Rodriguez is originally from Madera, and attended Eastin-Arcola and Madera High schools. Prior to that he spent 13 years in various roles in the City of Fresno Development & Resources Department, according to a city issued press release.
A salary of $184,000 was approved for Rodriguez at the council meeting for a three-year, at-will contract, along with a standard retirement package, medical and leave benefits, etc. adding approximately $40,000 to $60,000 in benefit costs for Rodriguez’ total compensation package from the city.
Some residents questioned why the city council had selected someone with no previous city management experience or other financial qualifications, over other recent applicants with proven track records in city management or even specialists in city “turn arounds” from budget deficits. The City of Madera already has a long time director of development, they pointed out, and questioned why Madera needed another one.
Builder and developer Mike Pistoresi said he was elated to see that the city council had selected a Madera native, it remained to be seen how someone without a financial background will be able to take charge of experienced department heads and how those department heads would respond to being led by someone with relatively no experience or track record as a city manager.
“I hope for the best for our community, and hopefully for a new direction set by a (new) council which will be controlled by fundamentally fiscally conservative members, after the two fine gentlemen who were recently elected, Santos and Montes, are seated. To the new city manager — I wish you God speed, in what will probably turn out to be an extremely challenging task ahead. I would hope that you will place the needs, concerns and financial well-being of the community ahead of any personal ambitions, while not attempting to balance the budget on the financial backs of the residents of Madera, as has been done in the past.” Pistoresi said.