Another top Modesto official leaves city

12/21/2013 12:45 PM

12/21/2013 9:21 PM

Modesto’s turnover among its top managers continues with the resignation last week of its Public Works deputy director for wastewater services.

City Manager Greg Nyhoff said Gary DeJesus resigned for family and personal reasons. DeJesus, 52, had been with the city for nearly six years, all of them as a deputy director in Public Works, which has about 300 employees and an annual operating budget of about $96 million.

DeJesus made $122,461 per year. He did not return a message left on his home phone Friday seeking comment.

Modesto terminated Public Works’ other deputy director, Jim Burch, in September after 13 months with the city.

Public Works Director Dennis Turner retired in October after more than 30 years with the city, and Utility Planning and Projects Director Rich Ulm is retiring Dec. 30 after 29 years with the city. But the City Council recently approved hiring Ulm as a consultant for the balance of the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, at a cost not to exceed $50,000.

Modesto also recently lost Parks, Recreation and Neighborhoods Director Julie Hannon and City Attorney Susana Alcala Wood. Hannon resigned after 13 years with the city to take a similar position with another city, and Wood resigned after more than six years with the city to become Stockton’s assistant city attorney.

Nyhoff is expected to present a reorganization plan to the City Council in January. The plan is based on recommendations from Moss-Adams, the consulting firm that serves as the city auditor. The failure of Modesto’s Measure X – a 1 percent sales tax – on the Nov. 5 ballot is another factor spurring the city to reorganize because it faces rising costs while revenues have not rebounded from the recession.

DeJesus’ accomplishments include greatly reducing sewage spills along Modesto’s roughly 639 miles of sewer lines, which handle 25 million gallons of sewage a day.

He and other wastewater employees reduced spills by more than half over a few years.

The number of spills is about five per 100 miles of sewer line, which meets an informal standard set by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials several years ago.

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