The Hollister City Council interviewed candidates for the city manager position in two consecutive closed sessions during the week of Sept. 30.
Mayor Ignacio Velazquez said the council planned to interview seven or eight candidates and ask them each the same questions. He told the Free Lance that the council wanted to have a decision by the week of Oct. 7.
He gave no details about the candidates prior to the interviews.
At a Feb. 19 council meeting, Bill Avera formally announced his intention to step down as city manager Nov. 15. Avera’s contract was to expire in 2021. He told the Free Lance on March 26 that there was no one factor that led him to retire, saying he wanted time to start a second career outside of city government.
The council unanimously decided to use a recruiting company to find candidates for the position, but had previously clashed over whether or not to hire a full-time city manager or an interim manager.
Avera said he announced his exit early to give the council time to thoroughly vet a new candidate.
“I gave [nine months’] notice so that the council had plenty of time to consider options for my successor,” Avera said at the time. “I felt like the more time I gave, the council had the opportunity to do a real recruitment, and the council wouldn’t be in the position where they had to go with an interim.”
The council’s original plan was to make an offer to a candidate in September. After announcing his resignation, Avera said he hoped to be able to spend a few weeks with the new city manager to help him or her acclimate to Hollister.