The turnover among Modesto’s top managers continues.
Utilities Director Larry Parlin is resigning June 26 after slightly more than three years with the city. His departure will give Modesto seven openings among its top managers. The city is expected to name an interim or acting utilities director. The other open positions are now held by interim or acting managers.
Parlin, 60, is going back to work for Carollo Engineers, the water and wastewater consulting firm that employed him for 17 years. He also has worked for Lodi, Stockton and the Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility.
Modesto brought in Parlin to run a new department created to oversee the water and wastewater divisions as well as planning for water and wastewater projects. This was part of a larger reorganization and came after a city auditor’s report found the two divisions were plagued by poor leadership, low morale and high turnover.
A subsequent auditor’s report last summer found that solid progress had been made in improving the two divisions during Parlin’s tenure. His other accomplishments include overseeing the North Valley Regional Recycled Water Program, in which Modesto will sell and send highly treated wastewater to West Side farmers.
The project is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
“I have enjoyed my time at the City since I arrived in May 2014,” Parlin said in an email, “especially when witnessing some amazing work by the Utilities Department staff.” But he added it was time for new challenges.
“Our city has benefited greatly from the leadership Larry Parlin provided over the Utilities Department,” acting City Manager Joe Lopez said.
Parlin’s departure will mean that about half of Modesto’s top management positions are filled with interim or acting managers. Those positions include fire chief, city manager, finance director, deputy city manager and chief information officer.
The reasons for the departures vary. For instance, City Manager Jim Holgersson resigned March 30 because he and Mayor Ted Brandvold had different visions for the city (that is the official word), while Fire Chief Sean Slamon left to become Carson City’s fire chief after nearly three decades with Modesto.
City spokeswoman Amy Vickery has acknowledged Modesto’s management ranks are stretched thin but has said the city remains focused on its priorities. She has said this also is an opportunity for the employees holding these interim and acting positions, and the city benefits from the ideas and perspectives these managers bring to their jobs.
She also has said that at some point the city will recruit and fill these positions with permanent hires.
Kevin Valine: 209-578-2316