City Hall: Finance Director Quinn resigns abruptly, Yanez named interim

February 18, 2011
Santa Paula News

John Quinn, Santa Paula’s finance director who came increasingly under fire as the city’s financial woes worsened, resigned abruptly Wednesday, according to City Manager Jaime Fontes.

“I think John reached the point and stage in his life where he wants to relax now,” Fontes said Thursday. “He’s married, has young kids still,” and has returned to his home in the Palm Springs area.

“John had indicated he would stay with us as long as he felt healthy... had been talking about” retirement or “close to it for awhile.... We wish him the best, absolutely.”

Fontes said Quinn “wanted to thank the people in Santa Paula; he felt a vast majority of people in Santa Paula had the good judgment to separate the message from the messenger. He told the truth and was thankful for the opportunity” to serve the city.

Since May Quinn also acted as the city’s interim director of the Public Works Department, taking the place of Cliff Finley, who was terminated. Public Works has several divisions, but also oversees the city’s sewer, water and solid waste enterprises. Quinn was promoting privatizing the solid waste division to help offset the city’s projected $1.8 million deficit, a move opponents claim would have the opposite effect.

Fontes said when Quinn was hired in 2007 by former City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz he had been the assistant city manager, public works, utilities and finance director of Coachella. Although he is no longer at City Hall, Fontes said Quinn’s resignation becomes official “right around the beginning of March.”

Community Services Director Brian Yanez is the city’s interim Public Works and Finance director. Fontes said Ed Mount has been named interim Community Services director

“If we tried to replace Mr. Quinn now it would be fully loaded, about $400,000” to fill both positions and, said Fontes, “the city doesn’t have that kind of money. We’re trying to get as much as we can with the staff we have. Brian doesn’t have to be a registered civil engineer, and he’s a good manager.”

Yanez will also stay at the helm of finance “until our finances are determined, until we resolve our money situation. Right now we have no plans to hire anyone, but we might bring in some extra financial assistance” for the now top ranking department staffer Sandy Easley, who is also the city’s elected treasurer and has acted as the interim department director in the past.

With the projected $1.8 million deficit and the council’s directive issued at Wednesday’s special budget meeting that Fontes return with a report outlining a plan(s) at a special meeting February 28, Fontes said, “Our number crunching will be intense and we’ll bring in some help for Sandy during this transition.”

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