There is more turnover among the ranks of Modesto’s top managers.
Finance Director Gloriette Genereux moved last week to the city manager’s office to work on special projects until her retirement in December. Accounting Manager DeAnna Christensen takes over as acting finance director.
That means Modesto now has five acting or interim managers: acting City Manager Joe Lopez (who is a deputy city manager); interim Deputy City Manager Rick Armendariz (who is assistant police chief); interim Fire Chief Alan Ernst (who is the fire operations division chief); acting Parks, Recreation and Neighborhoods Manager Nathan Houx (who is the parks planning and development manager); and Christensen.
It also means nearly half of Modesto’s senior executive positions are being filled by acting or interim managers.
“It’s true that there are quite a few acting people working in significant positions right now and we are confident in their leadership or those selections would not have been made,” Modesto spokeswoman Amy Vickery said in an email. “We are focusing resources on priorities. Staffing levels are not ideal, and in some areas we are spread thin, but we continue to provide the most efficient services we can.”
Vickery said there is a benefit: “We are providing our employees the opportunity to learn and grow into leadership, and we think that is a positive thing for the future of the organization,” she said. “We have this opportunity to reshape our leadership team, which means that the city will benefit from new ideas and new expertise in the months to come.”
There is a caveat for one of the acting-interim positions. Houx is filling in for Ashley Weaver while she is on leave for a few months. But others are filling vacancies created by managers leaving the city. Lopez replaces City Manager Jim Holgersson, who left in March because he and Mayor Ted Brandvold had different visions for the city (that’s the official word), and Ernst replaces Fire Chief Sean Slamon, who also left in March to become Carson City’s fire chief.
Genereux said her move to the city manager’s office will allow her to get projects done before her retirement, including revamping the city’s purchasing policies and procedures.
Modesto has not had a purchasing manager for more than a year since the last one left to go to work for Long Beach. And the city’s other deputy city manager position has been vacant since the December retirement of Brent Sinclair.
Vickery said Modesto eventually will fill the top positions with permanent managers but added there are no current plans to start recruiting.
Kevin Valine: 209-578-2316