The Los Banos City Council has chosen a longtime local government professional to manage the city while it searches for a permanent administrator. Gregory Wellman was hired as interim city manager on Monday at a rate of $104.94 per hour.
Wellman has worked in local government for more than 40 years. He previously served as city manager of Atwater, interim city manager of Oakdale, administrative officer and human services agency director for Merced County, project director for UC Merced, and general manager of the Keyes Water and Sanitation District.
Former Oakdale Mayor Pat Paul once credited Wellman with pulling his city back from the brink of bankruptcy.
“He’s just remarkable. He surrounds himself with smart people, he’s a good communicator and just a decent person,” Paul said.
Wellman is taking over for Josh Pinheiro, who was terminated in a divided vote by the city council last month. The reasons for the termination still aren’t clear. The move was opposed by Mayor Pro Tempore Kenneth Lambert and Councilmember Brett Jones. They have publicly criticized Pinheiro’s firing.
Everyone is in agreement on Wellman’s qualifications, however. The vote to hire him as interim city manager was unanimous.