Mendosa makes manager; how does Chief Chapman sound? – January 20, 2010

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Kevin L. Hoover

Eye Editor

CITY HALL – The City Council last week made a “conditional offer” to Interim City Manager Randy Mendosa to stay on on the position.

Stated a press release, “After conducting an in-depth city manager needs assessment, the council determined that Mendosa is highly qualified to be Arcata’s City Manager.”

“Randy has done an excellent job working with the council and City staff,” said Mayor Alex Stillman. Mendosa is known to enjoy positive regard by City employees.

The appointment spares the City from having to mount an external recruitment effort,  saving the City money, time and resources. Such efforts are problematic, and have not always yielded satisfactory results.

Mendosa has been a City of Arcata employee for the past 30 years. He began his career as a bus driver for the Arcata & Mad River Transit System in 1980. He became a sworn police officer in 1982, and police chief in 2002. He was named acting city manager over a year ago, taking over when Arcata’s then-City Manager Michael Hackett went on medical leave. Mendosa was appointed Interim City Manager in March, 2009.

“I want to thank the City Council and our incredibly talented and dedicated staff for their confidence and support,” Mendosa. “I’m honored and excited for this great opportunity to take on new challenges and to serve our city in a new capacity. Arcata is my home. I can’t imagine working or living anywhere else.”

The “conditional offer” apparently refers to closed-session contract negotiations in which Mendosa’s salary and benefits will be determined.

And at APD?

Arcata now has no police chief. Arcata Police Capt. Tom Chapman has been filling in for Mendosa since he took over the management position, effectively acting as chief.

Mendosa wants Chapman to take the top-cop gig. “I hope to woo him into accepting the police chief position,” Mendosa said. He called Chapman “an outstanding administrator.”

Chapman said he is open to wooing, but needs to think about it and discuss it with his family. “It’s a little premature,” he said. “We need to talk more and assess things.”

Mendosa observed that  his promotion will mean a positive personnel shake-up running from his upstairs office down through APD.

He noted that if Chapman moves up, a new police captain will be needed, plus a new lieutenant, sergeant and officer.

“This is good for an organization,” Mendosa said. “I really believe in succession.”

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