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Council Taps Wellman As Interim Manager
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Gregory Wellman has been appointed as interim city manager, starting on Aug. 1. The announcement came at Monday night’s Oakdale City Council meeting, July 18.
    Wellman, 64, who graduated as valedictorian from Brigham Young University, comes to the city with 43 years of experience in the public sector. He’s served 35 years in Merced County, including five years as county administrator, and as city manager of Atwater for eight years until his retirement in 2010.
   “Greg comes to us with a wealth of information, experience and skills,” Mayor Pat Paul said in a prepared statement. “We need this experience to get us through this transition period while we look for a permanent city manager. We are looking forward to welcoming him to Oakdale.”
   Wellman replaces acting city manager Mike Botto who stepped in from his fire chief position when former City Manager Steve Hallam was fired by the council in April.
   The contract between the city and Wellman calls for 20 hours a week and pays $93 an hour with no retirement or other city benefits.
   “He’s the right man for the job,” Paul said when announcing Wellman’s appointment at the city council meeting on Monday. “He’ll see us through a challenging time.”
   Wellman was not at the council meeting when the announcement was made.
   While other cities were struggling with major cuts and layoffs, Atwater’s 2010-2011 budget under Wellman’s helm avoided a similar fate by reorganizing departments and personnel. Wellman brought in grants for police officers, repairing the city’s infrastructure, and improving other city services for Atwater.
    In February, Wellman was recognized in Monterey by the League of California Cities for his 43 years of work in local government.
   “The police association had a very positive working relationship with Mr. Wellman,” said Atwater Police Association President William Novetzke. “He should do great for Oakdale; he’s got a wealth of city management knowledge.”
   An ad hoc committee appointed by the council to find an interim city manager consisted of Councilman Jason Howard, Councilman Michael Brennan, Police Detective and Oakdale POA President Brian Shimmel, and Oakdale Development Services Director Danelle Stylos.
   Earlier this month the field of candidates was narrowed to Wellman.
   “He seems to have what we need here in Oakdale,” said Shimmel. “He has some good ideas.”
   Wellman’s appointment isn’t expected to become the permanent solution, but is only planned to carry the city for a period of up to a year.
   “This city needs a full-time city manager,” said Councilman Tom Dunlop. “There’s a lot going on here in Oakdale. Within the near future of six months to a year, we’re going to need a permanent full-time person.”
   Since his retirement in November 2010, Wellman has been providing consulting services and working part-time as general manager for the Keyes Water Sanitation and Lighting District.