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Interim Leaders Tapped For City
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A pair of interim administrators were due for approval by the Escalon City Council at the Tuesday night meeting, Feb. 16, giving the city a police chief and a city manager, at least for the short term.

With the recent resignation of Police Chief and Interim City Manager Doug Dunford, leaving the city to take a job as the City of Livingston police chief, two major leadership roles will be left vacant. Dunford's resignation is effective at the end of this month, with his final day on the job Feb. 26.

Monday night's regular meeting, Feb. 15, was postponed a day due to the Presidents' Day holiday, and council members meeting Tuesday night were scheduled to act on the appointment of Jim Shaw to serve as interim police chief and Henry Hesling as interim city manager.

"Jim Shaw retired from Cal State Stanislaus a few years ago and he recently retired from Washington State, he's a former chief and he can hit the ground running," Dunford said in recommending Shaw's appointment to the council.

Hesling has served as a city manager in a few cities, including working with recently retired Escalon City Planner Duane Peterson when the two served together in Gonzales.

"We would look to retain him for 120 to 150 days until we find a fulltime city manager," Dunford said.

The candidates were discussed in a Wednesday night closed session of the council, with Dunford outlining each man's qualifications for the post. Council members right now are not looking to make any long term decision, but do need to get people in place to guide the city while the search is on for candidates to fill the top two jobs.

"Henry Hesling's strong points are negotiations and budgeting, those are crucial at this time of year," Dunford said of the interim city manager working through the budget cycle with the council. "Jim Shaw has been a chief for a number of years so his main thing will be getting to know the personnel, he can keep all the services and outreach going."

Shaw will likely be on the job in an interim capacity longer than Hesling. With Hesling's assistance, the council will conduct a search for a new city manager, and that manager will then oversee the search for the city's new police chief.

"We're hoping he'll (Shaw) get us through December," Dunford said of having the interim police chief on board for almost the entire calendar year.

It could take that long to get the new city manager in office and the search conducted for the new police chief.

Financial details of the packages for the two interim leaders were not available at press time. Dunford said he anticipated no problems having both men confirmed by the council and both are expected to be in the city this week for initial meetings. The two will be on the job to begin the transition on Monday, Feb. 22 and they are scheduled to officially start their contracts with the city on March 1.