Eastvale – On January 12, the Eastvale City Council unanimously appointed Henry Garcia as the new Acting City Manager while existing City Manager Bryan Jones’ is still on paid administrative leave.
The City’s news release stated that Garcia has 30 years of experience in public administration, and he was appointed to ensure fluid city operations during Jones’ absence. The City did not say why Jones was taking a leave of absence because they stated that information is confidential. However, the news release said that City Clerk/Communications Director Marc Donohue and Community Development Director Gina Gibson-Williams have been jointly serving as Acting City Managers since Dec. 14.
Garcia has three decades worth of experience in professional public services work, including roles as city manager in Azusa, Colton, Rialto, and Moreno Valley. He has also helped Eastvale facilitate and draft the City Council’s strategic plan in 2018 and 2021, according to the City’s release.
“Mr. Garcia has the experience, familiarity and knowledge to step seamlessly into this role and continue the momentum, stability, and continuity the city has seen the last couple of years regarding business growth and service expansion,” said Mayor Lorimore.
When Garcia’s appointment was announced on the City’s social media, community members expressed their concerns regarding Garcia’s previous position as Moreno Valley City Manager. Garcia was employed while the City of Moreno Valley was facing a corruption investigation in 2013. Garcia resigned at the May 13, 2013 City Council meeting after the probe began.
At the Eastvale City Council meeting on January 12, City Council Member Brandon Plott addressed these concerns by saying Garcia had nothing to do with the corruption and that the District Attorney (DA) cleared Garcia of being involved. He explained that the investigation was surrounding a Moreno Valley City Council Member accepting bribes. Plott reassurred the community that they looked into everything surrounding this investigation, researched the articles, and talked it over with one another.
He expressed his support of appointing Garcia by saying, “I have seen nothing but the best here when working with Henry, and I expect nothing but the best.” However, he felt it was needed to bring up those concerns posted on social media. “I just wanted to comment on that and clear the air,” Plott said at the meeting.
Council Member Jocelyn Yow added to this topic by saying, “I’ll be honest with everyone, I had my reservations,” referring to appointing Garcia. But she explained she reviewed each article surrounding the investigation and spoke to Moreno Valley Council Members. She concluded that Garcia’s involvement was unfounded and he was the right choice for Acting City Manager. Yow explained that they need an Acting City Manager right now and Garcia has experience in the City and with City Staff, so he was the best choice at this time for this position. She admitted she would not have chosen him for a permanent position, but sees him in this temporary position for a few months at most.
Council Member Christian Dinco discussed the topic of a permanent position earlier in the meeting as he said Garcia being a CalPERS annuitant would benefit the City. Dinco explained that Garcia already has the city manager experience to fill their current need, but will not be interested in a permanent position in the future.
Eastvale Mayor Lorimore showed his support of Garcia’s appointment in the City’s new release. “With Mr. Garcia’s depth of experience helping cities run smoothly, Eastvale will benefit from his knowledge in consensus building, strategic planning and goal setting to help further our strategic goals as we head into 2022,” said Lorimore.
Garcia also expressed his excitement to be appointed as the new Acting City Manager. “The City has many goals to work on in 2022, and I’m honored to help guide City staff toward achieving the objectives set forth in the strategic plan,” said Garcia. “By maintaining fiscal strength, protecting public safety, bolstering the city’s infrastructure, and supporting local businesses, we will collaboratively expand opportunity in the City of Eastvale.”