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New Manager - Council Taps Jill Anderson
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By a 4-0 vote, with councilman Jesse James White absent, the Riverbank City Council named Jill Anderson as its next city manager on Monday night, Jan. 23, pending the outcome of final negotiations on her contract. The council met in closed session prior to the start of their regular Monday council meeting and announced Anderson as their choice for the new manager following that closed session.

Target starting date for Anderson is Monday, Feb. 27 with a proposed annual pay rate of $137,500.

Council members had discussed the finalists in a special session on Wednesday, Jan. 18 out of the field whittled down to three candidates from more than 40 applicants. They had also presented the three finalists to the public at a mixer held the previous evening, Jan. 17.

Anderson, a former assistant city manager of Seaside, was introduced that evening in addition to the other two finalists for the post, Mark Prestwich, a special projects manager for the City of Sacramento; and John Sims, executive director of Stanislaus County's Children and Families Commission.

Attendance at the Teen Center mixer was sparse on Jan. 17, about two dozen and most of those present were city hall employees. The three candidates for the post each made five-minute presentations and then mingled with the crowd to chat with individuals.

Saying Riverbank is in many ways similar to Seaside, Anderson noted that while serving in the coastal city she was involved in contracting with the sheriff for its police services and in working with Army personnel to close down the adjacent Fort Ord and convert it to civilian use. Her job covered a variety of duties from supervision of city parks to management of the water system.

"I'm interested in moving forward, taking it to the next level ... I'm in a place that needs what I have to offer. You have accomplished so much already. Your downtown is beautiful..." she said.

Prestwich said he was proud to come from the small town of Hemet that is based on agriculture and like Riverbank had a population of about 20,000 back in 1980. He started his career there as a staff analyst for the League of California Cities working closely with the mayors and council members of surrounding communities.

Since then he has worked for the City of Napa mainly in public works administration, for Sunnyvale in the finance department and for the City of Sacramento where he tackles a variety of tasks in the city manager's office. He was also president of the Municipal Management Association of California for 2007.

"I want to be a city manager. I've known that for a long time. And I'm qualified," he said.

Sims cited more than 30 years experience in local government as manager of two small cities and a county government administrator. That constituted his entire career except for five years spent as a nursing home administrator. He attended high school in Turlock where he now resides and went to college at University of California at Davis and California State University, Stanislaus.

Working now for the Children and Families Commission of Stanislaus County, he has frequent contact with Riverbank Unified School District, has served 13 years on the Turlock School District Board and six years for the government board of the Turlock Presbyterian Church that he attends.

"Why Riverbank?" he offered. "I've been interested in government since childhood, especially local government. There is nothing closer or more intimate than city government. Riverbank faces challenges and I'd like to use my abilities and skills here."

Provided all the details of the contract can be worked out satisfactorily, Anderson should be on board to lead the city by the end of next month.

To find a new city manager, Riverbank officials worked with the executive search firm Avery & Associates of Los Gatos.