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City of Salinas breaks down the transition to Rene Mendez as City Manager

SALINAS, Calif. (KION-TV)- The months-long search for a new Salinas City Manager is finally over with the appointment of Rene Mendez. He’s set to take on the role on May 28 with a base salary of $300,000.

According to the website Transparent California, that salary is more than the $243,525 base pay for former Salinas City Manager Steve Carrigan in 2022.

“It was recognized in the last salary survey, if you will, that Salinas is the 243 [thousand] number you mentioned, was a little lower than the regional standard 300 [thousand] and up is the norm for anywhere north of San Jose," Salinas Interim City Manager Jim Pia said.

Pia also explains, the increased salary was also to help the city attract a larger pool of applicants. Some during Tuesday’s City Council meeting criticized the city’s process of selecting Mendez, saying there was a lack of transparency.

“I just feel like the way the city is running, how we hire and elect people, is not the proper way," said one person during public comment.

Yet, there's a reason for not disclosing the names of applicants, according to Pia.

“A lot of times, you'll get applicants who are applying. Maybe their current employer doesn't know that. And so our city and our city council, really respected and honored in the recruitment process confidentiality," Pia said.

During the search for a new city manager, hundreds of survey responses were received by the city. As soon as he take over, Mendez will be responsible for the city's on-going search for a new police chief.

“Whether or not we go out with a nationwide recruitment sometime in early May or end of April to so we can get some of the applicants behind us and then set up the process for Renee to go through," Pia said.

The appointment of police chief will ultimately be Mendez’s when he becomes city manager.

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Austin Castro

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