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East Palo Alto selects firm to recruit interim city manager

CPS HR Consulting to lead search process

East Palo Alto City Council members selected on Tuesday night a Sacramento-based recruitment firm to carry out the search for an interim city manager.

The council chose CPS HR Consulting from a pool of four firms that had submitted proposals to the city.

"They were considered to be the most responsive to request for proposals," Assistant City Manager Barbara Powell said of the Sacramento firm.

"We will be preparing an agreement and then as soon as possible, we will be scheduling a meeting between the recruiters and City Council so they can express the qualities that they are looking for in a city manager," Powell added.

Powell was also approved as interim city manager Tuesday night, a role she will fill until CPS HR Consulting finds a replacement. She will receive the same pay and benefits as she does in her position as assistant city manager.

East Palo Alto is filling the post left vacant by Magda Gonzalez, who officially left the city for the same position in Half Moon Bay after her contract ended Sept. 1. The end of Gonzalez's two-year tenure in East Palo Alto was marred by controversy over an audit of the city's Rent Stabilization Board that she contracted. In July, a tenants' rights group called for her ouster after the group reviewed more than 3,000 public documents related to her communications regarding the rent program.

At the July 15 City Council meeting, City Attorney John Nagel said the council was set to discuss hiring a recruitment professional to find another city manager.

Powell said that the city is starting with looking for an interim manager because the process to find a permanent replacement for Gonzalez could take several months.

The council will also be interviewing four candidates for the position next Tuesday, Sept. 9, Powell said.

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