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Firm sought to replace Hughson's city manager
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The Hughson City Council on Monday plotted the course for a search to replace City Manager Joe Donabed - and the healing process the community is looking for after months of political turmoil.

Hughson council members voted Monday to start the recruitment process as soon as possible with Donabed's contract expiring in May. The council voted on Jan. 25 to not renew his contract.

Replacing Donabed could take between four and six months, said Hughson mayor Ramon Bawanan.

Council members are planning to follow the recommendations of the Civil Grand Jury to "practice due diligence in initiating an outside search firm for any city manager hired in the future."

Donabed will seek out a request for proposal in order to hire the best "head hunting" agency that will do all the recruiting for the next city manager.

"Let's have someone else out there find the best for us," said Councilman Doug Humphreys.

Humphreys also wants to set up times for the selected agency to ask the community about what it wants in a city manager, he said.

Hughson council member Ben Manley said he wasn't satisfied with the timeline or Donabed taking any part of the recruitment process. However, Humphreys reassured Manley that Donabed is strictly putting together a request for proposal with everything coming back to the council.

The City Council voted 3-2 vote in January to not renew Donabed's contract with Humphreys, Manley and Thom Crowder leading the way. Crowder said he has been constantly misled by Donabed.

In other City Council news, Crowder requested the start of an internal investigation of a city employee who has been leaving posts on Hughson stories posted on the Modesto Bee Web. He insisted that the comments were posted during work hours perhaps on a work computer.

Crowder refers to the city employee as a "punch and run type of individual" who hides behind a "cloak of darkness."

He is asking for the city employee to resign or be terminated.

"I want somebody's head on this," Crowder said.