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Help Wanted: City Seeks New Leaders
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Under terms of Assembly Bill 1028, Escalon will have to look for some new administrators to take over for the current 'interim' high level management.

Interim City Manager Henry Hesling and Interim Police Chief Jim Shaw - who have both been with the city for a couple of years - will be terming out of their assignments by the end of the calendar year. The new Assembly Bill basically requires cities to hire permanent employees rather than fill in with 'interim' management, primarily retirees, by reducing the number of hours retirees can work and still collect their PERS pension.

For both Hesling and Shaw, it is bittersweet, but city officials can now move on the search for a new Chief of Police to take the reins of the department and determine how to proceed with the City Manager position.

"Our contracts with the city are good until Dec. 31," Hesling said, noting that he expects to complete his tenure by that time. "This has a lot of people in the state scrambling."

Hesling said it's not unusual for communities to use 'interim' managers to tide them over for a period of time, getting by with a 20-hour a week person in a position and not having to pay benefits while they search for a new full time manager or just look to save some money with the interim arrangement.

"We're going to be recruiting for the Chief of Police, I've been instructed to do so by the council and that position will be going out mid-May or the first of June," Hesling said of looking to fill that post first.

Current City Engineer John Abrew is due to be named as the Deputy City Manager in the next week or so, said Hesling, to help with the transition there.

Shaw said it's something he knew would come eventually, now he just has more of an idea of the 'end date' for his work with the city.

"If we get the right person, he should hit the ground running," Shaw said of bringing a new chief into the fold. "This is a very close department, there's not a big distance between administration and the line staff."

Finding the right person, one who can work well with the officers and still maintain an administrative perspective, will be key to leading the department into the future, he said.

But Shaw said he won't be a lame duck interim chief, looking to put some initiatives in place before he leaves, efforts currently being worked on to improve programs and services.

He also said he appreciated the opportunity to "be productive" even in retirement, having enjoyed his time working with the department and the citizens of Escalon.