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Hampton to return as Interim Police Chief
Gary Hampton
Gary Hampton will serve as Turlock’s Interim Police Chief starting Aug. 17 (Journal file photo).

Gary Hampton will assume another temporary role with the City of Turlock following the City Council’s decision on Tuesday to appoint him as Interim Chief of Police.

The former City Manager and Chief of Police has twice served as Interim City Manager, first in 2009 and again this year from January to May. Hampton stepped down from the interim role earlier this year after reaching the maximum allowable hours worked as a CalPERS retiree. Hampton also previously served as Chief of Police from 2006 to 2011.

With the reset of the fiscal year on July 1, 2021, Hampton’s number of allowable hours was reset and he was able to work once more. Following Tuesday’s vote, he will serve as Interim Chief of Police while the City employs the help of an executive search firm to hire his permanent replacement. According to CalPERS statutes, Hampton’s interim employment by the City must be terminated as soon as his replacement is hired. 

The agenda item was originally meant to be part of the meeting’s consent calendar, but Turlock resident Robert Puffer requested during public comment that the item be pulled for discussion. 

“Why that person?” Puffer asked. “...You already have two interim people who have been doing the job. They seem to have been doing a pretty good job and there’s no reason to hire another person.”

Puffer was speaking of Capt. Miguel Pacheco and current Interim Chief of Police Steve Williams, who have both served separate terms at the helm of the department following retired Chief Nino Amirfar’s departure last October. Acting City Manager Sarah Eddy explained that by filling the interim position with a CalPERS annuitant like Hampton, it allows long term interim replacements like Pacheco and Williams to apply for the position without scaring off other candidates. 

“When you go out and hire an executive search firm, most all of them will tell you that you never want to have an interim sitting in a position when you’re trying to recruit for that position,” Eddy said. “There would be no reason to have a search firm if that were the case, because any applicant that would look at that and see that the interim person is applying for the position wouldn’t apply for the job.

The Council also approved a $100,000 agreement with CPS HR Consulting for recruitment services related to the vacant positions of City Manager, Chief of Police, Fire Chief, Municipal Services Director, and Development Services Director. In the item’s report, City staff cited problems with finding interested recruiters willing to send a bid or proposal for the RFQ issued for the executive recruitment.

“Why an executive search? We would do that because we want to afford this city the opportunity to get the best candidate,” Eddy said. “It may be internal, it may be external, but that's the right thing to do.”

In his interim role, Hampton will make $90.47 per hour and will not receive any additional benefits. He may only be appointed to the role of Interim Chief of Police once and cannot exceed 960 hours of work in the fiscal year. Hampton will assume the role of Interim Chief of Police on Aug. 17.