Steven L. Hallam, the former city manager of Oakdale, has been hired by the Ceres City Council as the new Redevelopment/ Economic Development Director for an 15-month basis.
He started Monday.
"We're thrilled to have someone of his caliber and experience," said Acting City Manager/City Engineer Toby Wells.
The city of Ceres, led by Mayor Chris Vierra, has sights on ramping up the development of business within Ceres. A consultant recently suggested that the city hire a permanent full-time director who can promote Ceres to outside businesses as well as see what the city can do about expanding and keeping established businesses. The City Council, however, is struggling to find money in the budget to make the position permanent beyond June 30, 2015.
The city is using leftover redevelopment agency funds to pay for Hallam's salary. Part of his job responsibilities will be tying up the loose ends of winding down the Ceres Redevelopment Agency. The state of California dismantled all redevelopment agencies in California in order to raid funds for state coffers.
"We would like to make it a permanent position," said Ceres Mayor Chris Vierra. "I think it's something we have to find a way to afford it."
Vierra said the position is necessary to snag new business and industry for Ceres.
"Sitting around waiting for the phone to ring is not going to get it anymore," said Vierra. "You look at Turlock and being shovel ready. I know I deal with developers all day right now. They don't want to wait 18 months. They want to know where they can go because their business plans are here today and the here and the now and the closer that they can get to being able to start up is what they want. Turlock really did a good job of that ... when they did Monte Vista Crossings."
The city recently spent $121,000 to have Urban Futures, Inc., develop an economic development strategic plan that suggests that Ceres can expect to attract 300,000 to 600,000 square feet of the 7.1 million square feet of new industrial buildings projected to be developed in Stanislaus County by 2020. Ceres also stands to snag 14,000 to 16,000 square feet of new office space over the same time frame.
Hallam was fired as city manager in 2011 when Mayor Pat Paul decided to take the city into a different direction.
Hallam served as Community Development Director in Oakdale from October 2001 to November 2006 when he was promoted to city manager. In Oakdale, Hallam cited his close involvement and participation in the successful attraction of Sconza Candy Company to fill the former Hershey's Chocolate facility that was vacated in 2006 when that company closed its operation and relocated their confectionary production to Mexico.
Since leaving Oakdale city employment, he co-founded Vizina Hallam Hallinan West, LLC, dba as VHHW Investigations.
Hallam studied at California State University, Fresno.