The Tracy City Council has narrowed down its choices for a new city manager, and during a six-hour closed session on Tuesday, interviewed four of the top candidates.

Mayor Nancy Young confirmed on Wednesday that the city received about three-dozen applications and those who the council talked to this week had emerged as the most qualified and best fit for the city.

There was no action by the council following the closed session, and Young said it’s still an ongoing process.

“We’re going to take another look at a couple of them in a couple of weeks,” she said, adding that the council is up against a deadline to pick a new city manager. Interim City Manager Robert Adams, who was hired in mid-August, cannot be employed with the city for more than 960 hours because of the rules that govern retirees under the California Public Employee Retirement System. That translates to about six months, assuming he works a 40-hour work week.

Young said the council hopes to have a new city manager before the end of January.

The council must replace former city manager Jenny Haruyama, who resigned in August to pursue a career opportunity in Oregon. The council’s new selection will be the fourth city manager that Tracy has had in just over seven years.

Haruyama had served as city manager since May 2019. Prior to her tenure, the city council had appointed Tracy Fire Department Chief, Randall Bradley, now chief of the South San Joaquin County Fire Authority, to serve as interim city manager. Bradley served for 18 months after the council had fired the previous city manager, Troy Brown, who served from September 2014 to September 2017.

Brown’s termination, and the 3-2 vote to fire him, was part of a San Joaquin County Civil Grand Jury report that highlighted divisions on the council. Then-mayor Robert Rickman and councilwomen Veronica Vargas and Juana Dement voted to fire Brown, with Young and Rhodesia Ransom dissenting.

One of the recommendations out of that report was that a new policy be implemented requiring a 4-1 vote to terminate the city manager’s contract, and the council adopted that policy in August 2020. On Oct. 5 the council, at the request of Young and Vargas, discussed changing the rule back to allowing termination on a 3-2 vote, but dropped the matter when it became clear that council members Dan Arriola, Eleassia Davis and Mateo Bedolla would not support the change.

• Contact Bob Brownne at brownne@tracypress.com, or call 209-830-4227.

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