With the appointment of Turlock’s new City Manager Reagan Wilson after a comprehensive process, I want to update Turlock residents on their city government.
I visited with Mr. Wilson on his first day of work at City Hall. He was already delving into how our government works and where it can be streamlined and improved to ensure City services are delivered to our residents in the most economical and effective manner. One of his first tasks will be to fill out the ranks of our department directors and to decide if any restructuring of the organization should occur.
Our exceptional Interim and Acting City Managers Sarah Eddy and Gary Hampton hired Finance Director Isaac Moreno and new Police Chief Jason Hedden because of their superlative qualifications. The rest will be up to City Manager Wilson and is not a small task. Most California cities have vacant positions: Modesto 153, Manteca 60, Livermore 43, and Turlock 50. Like elsewhere, several Turlock Department heads retired or accepted new responsibilities in and out of government.
Last November, Turlock voters approved Measure A increasing local sale tax by 0.75 %. This generosity of Turlock voters combined with our strong interim leadership team allowed a number of top priorities to move forward despite the vacancy in the city’s top job. Among the most notable are:
1. Implementing the Turlock Roads Initiative to fix Turlock Roads using Measure A funds to supplement other sources.
2. Ratifying fair and equitable employment contracts with all City labor groups, most of them being long-term agreements.
3. Developing a long-range plan to help the unsheltered by eliminating unsafe homeless encampments, providing temporary shelter and social services to those in need.
4. Enhancing Public Safety to keep Turlock residents and visitors safe
5. Contracting with the City of Modesto to manage Fire Administrative Services with the support of Turlock Firefighters Local #2434.
Concerning our actions to mitigate the effects of COVID-19, Turlock will use federal, state and local COVID-19 funds to keep our residents, employees and local businesses safe while recovering from the pandemic. Improved ventilation and filtration systems, financed by COVID-19 relief funds, will help protect City employees and residents who frequent City facilities.
To assist local businesses expand and grow in the new world of e-commerce and social media outreach, we have contracted with Opportunity Stanislaus. We also added $1 million to the popular and successful RAD card app program benefiting Turlock consumer and small business. To help our employees cope with the pandemic’s impacts on morale and productivity, we have contracted with a company specializing in employee well-being.
Actions to improve the lives of our unsheltered homeless families and individuals will continue and improve as the work of the Ad Hoc Committee on Homelessness is unveiled and implemented. The plan is expected to rely on a wide range of approaches – that will be measured and judged on actual effectiveness – to improve the lives of the unsheltered homeless while respecting both them and the rest of the community.
Public Safety is a top priority in Turlock. An unsafe community poisons the quality of life we all desire. We will continue supporting our firefighters and police officers as they work to keep our homes, neighborhoods, parks, schools and work places safe.
Turlock’s future is bright thanks to the quality of our residents and dedicated city employees.
I am honored to serve as your Mayor.