November 21, 2011
Seaside City Manager Ray Corpuz is a top candidate for Salinas city manager, Corpuz confirmed today.
“I’m a candidate. and I was interviewed Saturday,” he says. “I’ve been here [in Seaside] for six-plus years, and this looks like a great opportunity to work in a bigger city.”
The Salinas council was reportedly split on the decision between Corpuz—supported by Mayor Dennis Donohue and councilmembers Steve McShane, Gloria De La Rosa and Sergio Sanchez—and Salinas interim city manager Jim Pia, backed by councilmembers Jyl Lutes, Kimbley Craig and Tony Barrerra. The new hire will replace outgoing City Manager Artie Fields.
Corpuz has been a controversial figure during his six years in Seaside. In 2009, he drew fire from some residents by pushing out former Seaside Police Chief Steve Cercone. The upset residents formed Citizens for Transparency in Government, whose leaders backed Felix Bachofner in a close win over then-incumbent Mayor Ralph Rubio last year.
Before coming to Seaside, Corpuz was city manager of Tacoma, Wash., where he was fired for promoting a police chief with a history of domestic violence. The officer later murdered his wife, then killed himself.
But the Seaside City Council has continued to support Corpuz through numerous annual reviews. His supporters describe him as skilled at downtown redevelopment and the master of Seaside's West Broadway Urban Village plans, which have been stalled by the recession and state freeze on local redevelopment agencies.