California city leadership in turmoil amid firing, leaves

November 15, 2019 GMT

MANTECA, Calif. (AP) — Four top officials in the central California city of Manteca have been fired or put on leave, raising concerns among residents who say officials haven’t explained why.

The police chief, city manager and finance director have all been placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation. The public works director was fired earlier this week.

Johanna Ferreira, a city manager’s official, said in a statement Thursday that the city can’t comment on personnel matters, but that an investigation is being conducted “with a sense of urgency by fair, impartial outside investigators.”

Manteca Mayor Ben Cantu and Acting City Manager Miranda Lutzow did not immediately return emails from The Associated Press seeking comment Friday.


“By them doing all this, it has us question even more about what’s really going on,” said Manteca resident Adriana Fuentes told KCRA-TV.

“We have a lot of questions. Things just don’t seem fair. Doesn’t seem right, and I really think it needs to get looked into to find out what’s really going on,” Fuentes added.

Greg Showerman had been community development director in Manteca for nearly three years before resigning two weeks ago. He refused to tell KRCA why he left his job.

Public Works Director Mark Houghton was fired on Wednesday after 12 years with the city.

Houghton said city leaders are frustrated with the city’s challenges and blame the staff.

“The easy answer for them is to blame things on staff, and so they’ve elected to have a knee-jerk response and throw the leadership out,” Houghton told the Sacramento television station.