Carlos Martinez, East Palo Alto's longtime economic development director, was chosen by the City Council as interim city manager, Mayor Laura Martinez has confirmed.
The council members chose Martinez, a management analyst, in closed session on Sept. 9. He and the city must enter into negotiations before he takes the position, the mayor said. If he takes the position, Martinez would serve for six to nine months while the city works works with a firm to recruit a permanent city manager, the mayor said.
Former City Manager Magda Gonzalez's contract, set to expire at the end of October, was not renewed by the City Council. She left East Palo Alto around Sept. 1 after being hired by the City of Half Moon Bay as its city manager. Assistant City Manager Barbara Powell has served as the interim city manager with John Doughty, director of Community Development, as acting city manager when Powell has been on vacation, the mayor said.
Carlos Martinez has worked as economic development manager for nearly 12 years, since January 2003. He previously held positions as economic development specialist with the City of Hayward and was East Palo Alto's redevelopment project manager in 2001 until state funding cuts eliminated redevelopment programs.
He was educated at U.C. Berkeley and Metropolitan University in Mexico City, Mexico, according to his LinkedIn page. He has a long list of work experiences dating back to 1983 in architecture, legislative analysis and economic development in the public and private sectors.
"We definitely want to bring Carlos on board so we can figure out who will be the next police chief. The sooner we get that settled the better," the mayor said. East Palo Alto has had a series of interim police chiefs since Ronald Davis left in November 2013 to take a position with the U.S. Department of Justice. Under East Palo Alto ordinance, the city manager has the authority to hire the police chief. On Aug. 9, Gonzalez announced three finalists for the job, but she left before making a final decision.
Council member Ruben Abrica has expressed concern that he did not want a long vacancy that could cause instability in the community.
Abrica said Thursday that Carlos Martinez would be a good choice as interim city manager.
"He has been with the city for over 10 years and was head of redevelopment. I think he will work well with the council, the staff and the community," he said.
Martinez could not be reached for comment. The council is expected to publicly vote on the appointment at its Sept. 16 meeting, he said.