By Mario Conde
The Calexico City Council denied a proposal to hire a grant writer for the City of Calexico at their Tuesday meeting.
At a previous meeting, Mayor Bill Hodge proposed to hire a grant writer for the City since he felt they need to be more aggressive in bringing funding to the city. The council decided to give direction to create a job description to hire a grant writer for six months limited term position that will also be an assistant to the City Manager.
City staff sent two options to the City Council and the potential amount for the grant writer would be $4,589 to $5,578 monthly. Councilman Joong Kim agreed that the City need to have a grant writer but asked to be extended to one year instead of six months since it’s a very short time and increase the salary to $80,000.
Mayor Pro Tem John Moreno said that the idea was good but reminded Hodge that the City is in a hiring freeze and asked him to reconsider his proposal.
“The idea is good; it’s just that the timing is not the right one.” Moreno said.
Councilwoman Maritza Hurtado also opposed this proposal since the city needs to be conservative in what they spend since the city is still recuperating from the financial crisis. She also questioned that the subcommittee that Hodge and Kim participated to create this job description included Councilman Luis Castro and that makes it an illegal meeting and Hurtado called it a “backroom deal.”
City Employee Union President Lorena Minor-Montes also expresses her disapproval for this grant writer since the City has seen layoffs, and early retirements from employees and now they are overworked. She asked the council not to approve this item.
Mayor Hodge called for the vote but there was no agreement in Kim’s proposal to extend it one year, or, the original six month proposal.
Mayor Bill Hodge concluded by saying that the City needed to be aggressive in grand writing and be like the other cities where they have a grant writer on the team that has help them in areas such as parks and other areas.
“The reason why the City is like it is right now is because we have no grant writer on board. Having one is a no-brainer.” Hodge said.
Early this year City Manager Oscar Rodriquez asked for direction to seek a grant writing firm but the Council back then decided to wait until they had their team building seminar to decide in what areas would they focus their needs for grants. The Council never discuss that item again or gave direction to seek a grant writing firm.