Henry R. Perea
Written by David Castellon
Former Fresno County Supervisors Henry R. Perea is the new city manager for Selma, but one official notes it’s only a temporary posting.
“He’s an independent contractor,” said City Attorney Neal Costanzo, who was directed by the Selma City Council to help to negotiate the terms of Perea’s hiring following a vote to hire him during a special meeting Friday night.
Before that vote, the council first accepted the resignation as city manger of David Elias following his arrest last week amid accusations of corruption in his previous job as Fowler’s city manager.
He is suspected of using city credit cards to pay for thousands of dollars in personal expenses, including work on his car.
Elias came to Selma in April.
Costanzo said Selma officials aren’t worried that Elias may have done anything similar here because “He had no [city] credit card, and all of our payments are paid by check and approved by two people,” and the payment ledger is easily reviewed.
“So we know everything is paid out and is legit.”
As for Elias’ replacement as Selma city manager, Costanzo said the four council members present during Friday’s meeting — minus Jim Avalos, who was hospitalized — voted unanimously to make Perea interim city manager.
Costanzo said he and Councilman Louis Franco were tasked with negotiating the terms of employment with Perea, which came out to the city paying him $10,000 a month to serve as interim city manager.
Perea also will help recruit candidates for the permanent city manager position, which is a big part of the reason he was selected for the job, as he has a lengthy career in human resource management and has worked as a consultant finding and recruiting candidates for government jobs since leaving politics after a failed run last year to become mayor of Fresno.
While Perea never has worked as a city manager, Costanzo said his lengthy experience as an elected official has taught him how to run a city.
That experience includes five-and-a-half years on the Fresno County Board of Education, six years as a Fresno City Council member and 12 years as a Fresno County supervisor.
Costanzo said negotiations on a contract for Perea were handled on Monday, and he started his new job as interim city manager Tuesday.
Attempts to reach Perea were unsuccessful.