Holds another special meeting but makes no decision, gets earful from residents
The Los Banos City Council held another special, closed session meeting last night, Tuesday, June 28, 2022, to discuss the vacant position of city manager. Several members of the public voiced their opposition to the recent firing of the city manager by a split 3 – 2 vote with Mayor Tom Faria, Councilwoman Deborah Lewis, and Councilman Refugio Llamas voting yes, and Mayor Pro Tem Kenneth Lambert and Councilman Brett Jones voting against. (See related articles here and here)
Lewis participated via Zoom during Tuesday night’s meeting.
During the public forum portion of the meeting, prior to the closed session, one resident, Tom Balatti addressed the council stating, “Up until a couple of weeks ago if I had met any of you on the street, I would have congratulated you on the hiring of Josh Pinheiro as City Manager. We had a young, progressive enthusiastic leader, that was on a mission to improve life in Los Banos”.
“Who will you hire, next? No qualified, right-minded person would want to take the job. Three city managers in under five years? Who would want to come? I urge you to backtrack on your decision,” he added to applause from the audience.
After closing public comments, the council went into closed session. Mayor Tom Faria reported out that “staff has direction” and no action was taken. When asked who the is current acting city manager is Faria responded simply, “We presently do not have an acting city manager”.