Managing to chart a new direction

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(Managing to chart a new direction)

Chris Lopez, interim City Manager is offered a permanent position

On October 25, the Hemet City Council officially offered their Interim City Manager, Christopher Lopez the position of Hemet City Manager.

What’s the job of a City Manager?

  • For those interested in a more in-depth description of the City Manager position in local governments may visit https://www.ca-ilg.org/sites/main/files/file-attachments/a_key_ingredient_for_success__an_effective_city_council_city_manager_relationship.pdf
  • The job of the City Manager is to act as the Chief Executive of the city. That means appointing the city’s department directors. The City Manager has a very large sphere of influence within the city and directly oversees each department of the city.
  • Enacting policies and procedures to efficiently and effectively carry out the City Council’s directives.
  • Ensuring that city services are performed to the highest standard in accordance with council goals and policies. Essentially this is a position of oversight, a foreman for the workings of local government.
  • To prepare, manage, and implement the annual budgets for the city Capital Improvement Program (CIP) in support of City Council goals.
  • Serves as an adviser to the City Council on policy matters impacting Hemet’s community and city organizations. He keeps his ear to the ground, keeping up to date with city goings-on that council may not be considering when deciding on the matter.
  • Supports the information and policy-making needs of the council and implements council decisions. This means he plays an active role during City Council sessions.

The thirty-something Lopez has his work cut out for him, but he wasn’t offered the job because he’s unsure of himself or his vision, or because he isn’t equipped for the job. Lopez did his undergrad work as Cal-Poly Pomona (CPP), earning a BA in Poli-Sci with a minor in GIS (Geographic Information Systems), finally receiving his Masters degree in Public Administration from CPP.

Lopez points to his work with the CIP as one of his proudest accomplishments. “I’m proud of the fact that we empowered the engineering staff, and they responded. We allowed them to do their job and pointed them in the strategically best direction,” says Lopez, adding, “I’m looking forward to our Departments accomplishing much more in the future.”

While the city nominated Lopez to permanency in a closed-session meeting, all those involved are hoping that the needed contract negotiations will go smoothly and that Lopez can continue his tenure seamlessly. I see nothing but great opportunities here in Hemet. There are lots of exciting things in the works for the city and for our citizens.

If Lopez’s position becomes permanent, the number 1 priority for the very-candid Lopez, is financial stability. “We are working diligently to prove that we are financially forthcoming and stable: we believe that this is a critically important step to move the city, and the agency forward so that we may provide the best level of services possible to the citizens of Hemet.”

If the past is indeed prologue, Chris Lopez is up to the task.

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