Escalon could have a new Police Chief on the job by next week.
But it won’t be a permanent chief; rather, an interim one to get the city through the next few months.
Interim City Manager Tammy Alcantor said the latest round of candidate interviews for the position of Escalon Police Chief ended with an offer made and accepted – but then the council’s choice for the job unexpectedly declined.
“We did make an offer to one of our candidates but unfortunately after accepting the position he declined for personal reasons,” Alcantor said. “While we will not be making an offer to another candidate (from the latest group of applicants) the city is actively seeking an Interim Chief and will continue to search for a permanent Police Chief.”
Alcantor said the city, in fact, is close to reaching an agreement with a retired chief from another department in the area who would take over the Interim Police Chief role to give the council time to reassess the package offered and search parameters for the permanent chief they are seeking.
“The budget already had included the hiring of a police chief as of April 1,” Alcantor explained, “so the money is in the budget to afford an interim chief.”
She’s hopeful the contract can be signed and the new Interim Chief could be on board by next week. That would allow acting chief Milt Medeiros to resume his role as a sergeant within the department and leave the administrative tasks to the interim.
Alcantor said the council is hopeful that their choice for an interim will work out, since retired chiefs typically bring a wealth of expertise and offer guidance while the department transitions to a new chief. She also said the council is now looking more aggressively in the local area.
“We’re tapping on some shoulders,” she said, “to see if we can drum up some interest.”
It’s hoped the interim chief will be on board anywhere from three to six months, with the city recruiting and selecting a new chief within that time frame.
Meanwhile, Alcantor – in her role as the city’s Finance Director – also recently presented the council with a mid-year budget review.
“We are in better shape than we initially budgeted for, a lot of that has to do with some of the building that has been going on,” she said.
Commercial construction projects have brought in some general fund money through developer impact fees that benefit City Hall, the Police Department and Public Works.
Residential building provides some fees to Parks and Recreation and Alcantor said the city has also saved money with her taking on the role of interim City Manager and Medeiros serving as the acting Police Chief.
“We have ended up ahead,” she explained. “Initially, our original budget had projected a year-end surplus of $13,174 and now, at our mid-year budget review, we’re predicting a $140,515 surplus.”