The Ceres Planning Commission has received an infusion of new blood in the appointment of two newcomers to city policy making.
Cerina Otero and Ruldip “R.J.” Jammu are enthused about serving on the commission since their appointment by the Ceres City Council on Dec. 12. Otero and Jammu take the place of Laurie Smith who decided to retire from the commission after 16 years; and Daniel Martinez who resigned due to his election to the council.
Other applicants for the appointments were David Carreon, Kelly Cerny, Anthony Flores, Alvaro Franco, Mohinder Kanda, Josh Steeley, Vincent Truffa and Juan Vazquez.
Otero has a leadership role within the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department as a records manager II.
“She is excited to serve and seems to have a great background when it comes to understanding government,” said Christopher Hoem, the director of Community Development for the city of Ceres. “I’m excited to work with her along with R.J.”
Otero, a lifelong resident of Ceres, said she put her name in for consideration because she cared about Ceres and its future.
“The Planning Commission is a way for me to contribute my input and guidance to the future plans and the direction of the city’s growth,” said Otero. “Keeping the citizens best interest in mind is important to me to ensure all residents have the needed resources to shop, live, and take care of day to day business. Also, keeping in mind the community’s vision for what they are interested in. My leadership experience can play an essential role in upcoming decision-making. Thorough review of projects and transparency will allow the project decision and advice to the City Council to be successful.”
She believes her strong communication and leadership skills and attention to detail will benefit the commission.
“I understand that planning can be complex and time consuming. Having an understanding of government and the behind-the-scenes process is important. While working in government for the past 15 years has allowed me to serve citizens countywide, it is just as important to me to directly serve and be a voice for the citizens within the city I call home.”
A 2009 graduate of Ceres High School and U.C. Merced, Jammu is an engineer employed as superintendent of Electrical Services for PG&E. In his capacity he has worked with local planning jurisdictions.
“Working for PG&E as a supervisor in the engineering aspects,” said Hoem, “I’m sure he’s got a lot of understanding of how the permitting process goes and making sure that infrastructure is well thought through. It’s just so helpful to have another professional joining the Planning Commission. We’ve got a great set of people on there. I’m sad to see Laurie Smith step down but I feel we have an all-star team and I look forward to working with them.”
Other members of the commission are Dave Johnson, who has a real estate background; Gary Del Nero who is retired from the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department; and Robert Kachel, who is a retired planner with the county of Stanislaus.
The addition of Jammu and Otero are among the many changes which have taken place in city government during 2022.
Councilwoman Linda Ryno resigned in March, leaving the District 2 council seat vacant until it was filled by Rosalinda Vierra this month. Daniel Martinez replaced Mike Kline in the District 4 Ceres City Council seat.
City personnel changes as the year closes included the retirement of Ceres Police Lt. Patrick Crane.
The city hired a new City Engineer in Kevin Waugh earlier this year to replace Daniel Padilla who quit his post in June 2021.
This past summer, the city hired Fallon Martin as the new city clerk, replacing Diane Nayares-Perez who left for a Modesto position.
The city also appointed Sam Royal as the new City Public Works Director, replacing Jeremy Damas who left the city at the end of 2021.
The position of Economic Development manager was filled by Tamra Spade. She replaces Anthony Sims who resigned after five months on the job. Spade spent the last 10 years as the CEO of the Chambers of Commerce in Ripon and Tracy.
Also in 2022, the city hired a new Human Resources Director in Delilah Vasquez in May. She is the city’s fourth HR director in the past three years. Suzanne Dean resigned on Oct. 6, 2019 and was replaced by Aaron Slater. When he left in August 2020 he was replaced by Theresa Roland, who left the city in January.