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January 17, 2022

City Council again meeting to discuss interim city manager position

WATSONVILLE—The Watsonville City Council has scheduled a special meeting for Wednesday morning to discuss the appointment of an interim city manager that will take the reigns from outgoing chief executive Matt Huffaker.

It will be the third time the City Council has met in closed session about the position. It met on Nov. 3 in a special meeting with two City Council members absent and debated the item in closed session again at its regularly scheduled Nov. 9 meeting.

Wednesday’s meeting is set to begin at 8am.

At the Nov. 3 meeting, the City Council directed staff to search for two companies that would spearhead the city’s efforts to find a new city manager. One company would be in charge of finding a permanent replacement for Huffaker, and the other for identifying a person to fill the position in the interim.

It took no final action on the matter in its Nov. 9 meeting.

Huffaker, the city manager in Santa Cruz County’s southernmost city for three years, was appointed as Santa Cruz’s chief executive on Nov. 9 by the Santa Cruz City Council. He is slated to start his new position on Jan. 3, 2022.

The appointment of an interim city manager has drawn concerns from people who claim they are city of Watsonville employees that have flooded the Watsonville City Council’s email with pleas that it look outward for a replacement. Specifically, those people say that Assistant City Manager Tamara Vides is not qualified for the position.

Only one city employee has come forward against Vides’ possible appointment on the record.

Vides, at the Nov. 3 special meeting, received a show of support from interim police chief Tom Sims and fire chief Rudy Lopez and the directors of the parks, development and finance departments.

Tony Nuñez
Managing Editor Tony Nuñez is a longtime member of the Watsonville community who served as Sports Editor for five years before entering his current role in 2019. A Watsonville High, Cabrillo College and San Jose State University alumnus, he covers the city, business, housing, entertainment and more.

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