Former Fresno County Supervisor Henry Perea has been named Selma’s interim city manager after former city manager David Elias was arrested last week on suspicion of misappropriation of public funds.
The city lists Perea as the interim city manager on its website.
The city manager appoints the department heads for the city’s administrative services, community development, community services and recreation, fire, finance, police and public works. The city of Selma employs approximately 114 full- and part-time staff, according to its website.
Perea ran for mayor of Fresno in 2016, losing to Lee Brand.
The Selma City Council started the process to seek a new city manager on Friday, Mayor Mike Derr said.
Councilman Louis Franco contacted Perea with the offer after the council members agreed to it, Derr said.
Perea’s contract will be put to a vote Dec. 4 to determine the terms of his employment, including pay.
“We’re thrilled to death to have him,” Derr said. “He’s a good guy with good common sense and has worked in government for a long time. He’s a good fit for us.”
Derr said all the council members knew Perea from his days as a Fresno County supervisor serving on various committees.
The council was happy with the job Elias was doing for Selma and hired him knowing he might face controversy from his former job in Fowler, Derr said.
“We built into his contract that if anything blew up, his response would be to immediately resign. As you know, it blew up, and the first thing he did was send us a letter of resignation,” Derr said.
There’s no signs of wrongdoing by Elias while he worked for Selma, Derr said. Selma is a bigger city than Fowler, and its government structure has certain checks and balances in place that a smaller city doesn’t have resources for, he said.
Derr was upbeat about Perea filling in as interim city manager. “He showed up for work, and I always like when someone comes to work,” he said. “We’d like for him to be wonderful, and in order to do that, you have to pay attention to people, be involved in the community and have your fingers in all the pies.”
Perea could not be reached for comment.