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County to conduct Hughson recall election
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The Hughson City Council decided Monday to go with the cheaper and more experienced services of the Stanislaus County Elections Office for the Aug. 24 recall election. The council reversed its April 26 decision to have the city conduct the recall election after learning costs could be as high as $63,400 compared to a county conducted election for up to $23,000.

Hughson voters will be asked on Aug. 24 if council members Thom Crowder, Ben Manley and Doug Humphreys should be recalled. The Stanislaus County Civil Grand Jury found the three violated the Brown Act and the Hughson Municipal Code and recommended their removal from office. None of the three have agreed to step down despite a groundswell of cries from Hughsonites that they do so.

The council examined the option of hiring an Anaheim company for an estimated cost of $51,400; or hiring an Oakland company for an estimated cost of $63,400.

Hughson residents will be able to vote if they want each of the three council members to be recalled and who they would like to replace their respective seats on the city council in August.

As of Monday, the candidate nomination filing period has begun for Hughson residents who are interested in filling the council seats. The filing period will end at 5 p.m. on June 4.

Also at Monday's meeting, the Citizens for Better City Government - the citizen group that led the recall movement -announced that they will no longer bring their comments into the council chambers and instead take them onto their campaign trail.

Spokesperson for the Citizens for Better City Government Josh Whitfield clarified the reason for the efforts of the recall election stating it is not because of the council's support of city employees who alleged they have been part of a hostile work environment, but because of the lack of confidence Hughson residents have in the three council members to run the city.

"You do not get to break the law to prove someone else broke the law," Whitfield said. "You are not facing recall because you tried to help someone."

Whitfield also reminded the council that it is the city manager's job to manage City Hall, and the City Council's job to manage the city manager; and it is the people's job to manage the City Council.

Recruiting firm hired for city manager search

The City Council unanimously approved entering into a contract with Peckham and McKinney to search for a new city manager for Hughson. It will cost the city a maximum of $21,000 for their services.

Interim City Manager Thom Clark is expecting the cost to be lower. He said the city has already negotiated down the price by $1,200. Clark said the city is also trying to encourage the recruiting company to tighten up the time limits.

Clark is currently sitting in the interim city manager position, while also fulfilling his responsibilities as director of public works and director of planning/building. Clark is filling in for an absence in the city manager position after the City Council voted to not renew previous City Manager Joe Donabed's contract. Donabed's contract ended May 1.