HUNTINGTON PARK — Assistant City Manager Edgar Cisneros was promoted to city manager Oct. 20, replacing interim City Manager John Ornelas.
The promotion was approved by a 4-1 vote with Councilman Valentin Amezquita dissenting.
Amezquita said, “Edgar has done a great job [as assistant city manager since last June], but I would prefer someone with more experience as a city manager, although some of his previous duties overlap [the manager position].”
Cisneros has served as field deputy to former Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina and before that with former State Sen. Martha Escutia.
The contract is for five years but states Cisneros could be “terminated at will” without cause by a council majority. If a new council majority is elected in March 2017, he cannot be fired for at least six months, under state law.
Under the terms of the contract, Cisneros will receive $191,000 a year along with a city cell phone. He will be required to “put in as much time as needed to fulfill the job of city manager,” but will receive no overtime pay, the pact states.
He will receive the same benefits as other department heads including medical coverage, vacation and sick time off.
The new city manager faces a number of challenges including the city’s shaky financial situation, lack of department heads (there is no public works director, community development director or finance director. The latter job is being filled by an interim finance manager while staff handles the other two departments.
Cisneros is a product of Montebello schools.
Born in East Los Angeles, he was the first in his family to go to college. He attended Greenwood Elementary, Montebello Intermediate and Montebello High School prior to graduating from Cal State Long Beach with a bachelor’s degree in political science.
He and his wife Jessica, who works as a teacher for a neighboring school district, have two children, Vicente and Valentina.
Cisneros also must deal with protests from a regional group called We the People Rising, demanding the removal of two advisory commission members who are not legal citizens — Francisco Medina and Julian Zatarain.
The group, including residents and non-residents, have called for the removal of Medina and Zatarain and the recall of the council majority except Amezquita, who was the lone dissenter to the appointment last August.
They protested for the third straight council meeting Oct. 20. Arthur Schaper of Torrance challenged Cisnoros’ previous comment that the two have been formally installed after passing the required Live Scan background check, saying that requires a Social Security number, not distributed to non-citizens.