After more than 15 years of service to the City of Escalon, Tammy Alcantor had her final day on the job Thursday, Sept. 30.
She turned in her resignation previously, leaving Escalon for a new post in Riverbank.
The Escalon Times did a “Q&A” with Alcantor – who was serving as City Manager/City Clerk, as well as working with HR and finance – as she prepared to transition out of city service.
Q: How long have you been with the City, and what was the original job?
A: Seventeen-and-a-half years, started in 2004 as an Account Clerk II.
How did the transition come about to wearing so many hats?
In September 2005, promoted to Accounting Technician II after an employee resignation
In July 2007, promoted to Assistant Finance Director
In March 2009, promoted to Finance Director with the retirement of Ricky Gibbs
In October 2012, due to a layoff took over HR Administrator
In July 2013, appointed Interim City Manager and City Clerk – The City went out for recruitment, and the City Council did find a successful candidate. At that time, our Police Department had been with an Interim Police Chief for over a year, and I did suggest that the City Council search for a Police Chief to support the Police Department. We went out for Police Chief, chose a candidate who accepted and then 48 hours turned down the job. We were able to get Mike Harden, former Modesto Police Chief, to serve as Interim until Chief Mike Borges was hired. Both Chief Harden and Chief Borges were instrumental in revitalizing the Police Department.
In October 2014, the City Council convinced me to accept the position of City Manager, which also included Finance Director/HR Administrator/City Clerk.
How have you managed to juggle all those responsibilities?
I think that juggling is the keyword! I did the best I could with prioritizing tasks and worked many hours a week and sometimes weekends when necessary to keep up with my duties. A critical component of my success was the Department Heads’ and Staff’s support. They are the backbone of the City and were willing to step up and assist where needed, even when it wasn’t their job to do. It was really a team effort.
What was most surprising about city service?
The government policies and procedures are challenging and sometimes cumbersome to your efforts. However, I have always kept in mind that they have been put into place to ensure that those entrusted with taxpayer monies make appropriate choices. Understanding that your choices affect your community makes those choices even more difficult.
Most rewarding about city service?
I have enjoyed working with the community and assisting in community events; National Night Out, Park Fete, Christmas on Main, and most recent Movie Nights!
Who would you say was most instrumental in helping guide you in your early career that helped you in handling your current position?
I would say that I have two people that were my most significant mentors in government: the previous Finance Director Ricky Gibbs and previous City Manager Henry Hesling. Ricky was my introduction to government finance and guided me through my first few years. Working with her was always a pleasure. As the City Manager, Henry started his mentoring, and then when I became the Interim City Manager, he assisted me through many complex issues and situations. He always had good advice and a story from his years of experience. Finally, I would like to acknowledge my Mom, Sandra DeWinkle, who showed me that you could persevere through difficult situations with hard work.
What do you feel are some of the most significant accomplishments of your tenure?
Restored Staffing levels within the Police Department;
Working through the cease-and-desist order at the Wastewater Treatment Plan;
New McHenry Lift Station;
Sewer Trunk Line Replacement;
Annual Water Main Replacements;
Solar Project at Community Center, Library, Police Department, and the Wastewater Treatment Plant;
The replacement of the ball field lights at Hogan Park;
Adjustments to Water and Sewer rates – while I understand that this is not popular, it is essential in maintaining the infrastructure.
Projects in Progress
Water meter swap out to automatic reading meters
Replacement of the Bathroom at Hogan Park - April 2022
Connection to the SSJID Surface Water Plant
Engineering for Improvements at the Wastewater Treatment Plant
Do you have some advice for your eventual successor?
Take care of your staff, mentor them, appreciate them and reward them. But, don’t wear too many hats!
What will you miss most about working for the City?
The Staff are my family and the hardest to leave. I love all of them and appreciate each of them for their contributions to the community.
Tell us a little about your new position
I will be the Assistant Finance Director at the City of Riverbank. I will be doing many of the tasks I currently do here in Escalon as the Finance Director. They are a slightly bigger City, and there will be some finance areas that I have not been exposed to currently, and I am eager to learn. Also, I am excited to meet my staff of five and get to know them and their jobs.