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Hollister city manager resigns days after getting job

HOLLISTER, Calif. (KION) A Central Coast city manager resigns just days after being given the job, coming after public outrage in Hollister over a previous controversy.

These include allegations of sexual misconduct while he was working in Iowa more than 10 years ago. 

Paul Eckert, a former Gridley city official, turned in his resignation to the Hollister mayor Thursday afternoon, and while the mayor could not reveal exactly why he quit, he says Eckert was disappointed with the way things were going. 

"He was very disappointed with the smear campaign that was happening locally of people accusing of things that just weren't true. It was disheartening for him," said Ignacio Velazquez, the Hollister mayor.  

Eckert was involved in a 2004 case from his previous position in Sioux City, Iowa, where he was investigated for sexual misconduct allegations, which KION confirmed in these obtained court documents. 

The mayor of Hollister says he was cleared of any wrongdoing. 

"I actually spoke to one of the people that was involved in the investigation and they told me clearly, there was nothing there at all," said Velazquez.

But some community members are not convinced, and they welcomed the news of Eckert's resignation. 

"Well the concerns were that there were multiple allegations, complaints against him of sexual harassment," said Salvador Mora, a concerned Hollister resident.

Mora, who ran for city council in Hollister, says as more and more people started digging into Eckert's past, the more concerned they became. 

A few years after the sexual misconduct investigation, Eckert was involved in a retaliation lawsuit by the same accuser. The Sioux City Journal reports the city settled that case for $300,000. 

"I think it's the right decision for him to resign," said Mora. 

Mayor Velazquez says there were a lot of things people said that were not true in Hollister and that Eckert should have kept the job. 

"Once I started seeing the smear campaign start, I immediately said this is not right, this is not fair," said Velazquez. 

KION tried finding a way to reach out to Eckert, but we were unsuccessful. 

Central Coast / Politics / San Benito County / Top Stories

Josh Kristianto

Josh Kristianto is a multi-media journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.

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