The paths of three men converged Tuesday in Guadalupe, and together they are changing the direction the city is going.
City Council members officially hired Andrew Carter as the new city administrator and Gary Hoving as the interim public safety director. Members also thanked Tim Ness for his work as interim city administrator.
Ness, who was Santa Maria city manager for 16 years, stepped in to run Guadalupe six months ago, when Regan Candelario resigned in August to accept a similar position in Fortuna, Calif.
In those six months, Ness developed a budget reduction plan, instituted new employee policies, worked to jumpstart the DJ Farms residential and commercial development, and helped the council identify Carter and Hoving as the city’s next full-time administrators.
Mayor Frances Romero and former mayor Lupe Alvarez both thanked Ness for his work. Alvarez said Ness was worth more than 10 times the $38.47 per hour he was paid.
Romero said the hirings proved critics wrong who say Guadalupe can’t get quality employees because of the low salaries it offers. Carter’s annual salary will be $80,028, the same amount Candelario earned in his last year with the city.
Carter, whose contract was unanimously approved, was chosen by the council Jan. 23 as its choice for the position following a nationwide search led by Ness.
“I couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome of this process,” Ness said of the search. “Mr. Carter is going to make an excellent city administrator for the city of Guadalupe.”
A resident of San Luis Obispo where he serves as a city councilman, Carter will go to work for the city Feb. 20. He is set to resign his council seat Feb. 19.
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Carter has 20 years of business management experience with the bulk of it in marketing and advertising with companies such as Nestle Waters North America, Dioptics Medical Products and Cellular One. From 1985 to 1988, he served as an account executive at Young & Rubicam, one of the largest advertising agencies in the country at the time.
He has also taught business classes at Cal Poly, Cuesta College and the University of LaVerne.
In addition to his business experience, Carter has served as a board member of the Economic Vitality Corporation, Workforce Housing Coalition and Residents for Quality Neighborhoods, all in San Luis Obispo County.
Carter earned a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University in New Jersey and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.
For all his big city credentials, Carter said he grew up in a small farming community, so he believed Guadalupe was a good fit for him.
“This is almost the best birthday present I’ve gotten. My oldest child was born on (Feb. 15) . . . so that was the best,” said Carter, who celebrated his 56th birthday Tuesday. “I can’t wait to get started serving this community and serving you.”
Hoving expressed similar feelings in his return to Guadalupe. The former San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s deputy, who retired in 2008 as chief deputy in charge of field operations, served two years as a reserve sergeant with the Guadalupe Police Department.
The city has searched for a public safety director since Police Chief George Mitchell announced his retirement in November. Hoving will oversee both the police and fire departments.
Hoving will be paid a $37.20 hourly rate with no benefits except the use of a city vehicle.
He said he was not thrilled with the “interim” job title, but he was excited about doing the job.
“It’s not in my nature to be a place holder. It’s not in my makeup,” he said, adding he is eager to go to work.