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Carder Tapped Holmer On Leave
Riverbank City Council members placed longtime City Manager Rich Holmer on administrative leave following a special session Wednesday, March 30 and two days later appointed Pam Carder as interim city manager.

Council met behind closed doors in personnel session and issued no public explanation for its sudden action, but referred inquiries to Sacramento attorney Douglas White who in turn said it was not in the best interests of the city to give reasons at this time.

Holmer said he hopes for a quick resolution of the matter and added he has hired his own attorney Bob Aaronson of Sacramento, who also declined comment when contacted by The News.

Council met March 30 behind closed doors for the 'discipline, dismissal or release' of a public employee, according to the agenda.

Holmer, 64, has served as Riverbank's city manager for 15 years, the longest tenured of any among Stanislaus County's nine city managers. He became the city manager here in 1995 after holding local government posts in Folsom and before that in two southern California cities.

City managers serve at the discretion of the council and can be fired at will by a majority vote of the council.

Carder, 60, joined the Riverbank government a few months ago to serve on the staff of the Local Redevelopment Authority that manages the former Army ammunition plant now called the Riverbank Industrial Complex. She previously served as Lathrop's city manager for six years.

Carder's appointment became effective at once and is limited to 30 days.

The council is reported to have considered other staff members for the interim job but picked Carder because she is the only employee with previous experience as a city manager. She is a longtime resident of Riverbank.

In a possible related issue, Riverbank filed a lawsuit against councilmember Jesse James White last week but the court file was sealed at the order of the judge and the city withdrew the suit by the week's end.

White, 22, who has openly criticized Holmer at meetings, faces a trial on drug charges in October. At the time of his arrest, he accused Holmer and the police with setting him up resulting in charges for possession of marijuana and cocaine. He refused to resign his office despite a public request by Mayor Virginia Madueno.

Constrained by deadlines on seeking grants, property negotiations and now personnel matters, the council has been meeting about every other day but mainly behind closed doors. Having met Monday, Wednesday and Friday of this past week, members convened again Monday morning to give more authority to LRA director Debbie Olson to handle LRA decisions now that Holmer is unable to do so.

There is a possibility the council may set a special meeting for this coming Friday, April 8, but the topic is undecided, said Public Information Officer Tim Ogden.