Mayor Lee Brand on Wednesday met with a consultant to jump-start the national search for Fresno’s next city manager.
Brand’s sentiment? As the great Johnny Cash used to sing, “I don’t like it but I guess things happen that way.”
You see, current City Manager Bruce Rudd is slated to retire this summer. Rudd, by all accounts, has done a superb job. He has worked for the city for more than 40 years, holding down blue collar as well as white collar jobs. He’s been a success wherever the bosses put him.
“I wish Bruce would stay for a couple of more years,” Brand told me Wednesday evening. “We work well together. His institutional knowledge will be hard to replace.”
Brand said he’s looking for a city manager with a fiscally conservative philosophy and strong communication skills. The former requirement doesn’t mean someone who’s stingy. As he made clear on the 2016 campaign trail, Brand has every intention of restoring and prudently expanding vital city services hammered during the Great Recession.
But breaking the bank in pursuit of noble policies isn’t Brand’s idea of good government.
The consultant should have a list of worthy candidates on the Mayor’s desk by March. Brand wants the new city manager on the job by May. That will give Rudd and his replacement a month or two to work side-by-side. It won’t hurt for the new city manager to have a mentor come June during that first budget process, Brand said.
Per the City Charter, the city manager is Fresno’s chief operating officer. Responsibility for day-to-day operations falls on the city manager.
Former Fresno Bee Executive Editor Charlie Waters used to tell his newsroom troops: “Fresno is a great news town.”
A great news town usually means headaches galore for city managers.
“I’m confident we’ll find a really good person,” Brand said.
Photo: The Fresno Bee