Wednesday , June 12 2024

Sanger Residents Strongly Support City Manager Amidst Effort to Fire Him

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<p>More than 200 people in Sanger attended a special meeting called by some members of the Sanger City Council&nbsp;Friday night. Mayor Joshua Mitchell and many residents said&nbsp;the&nbsp;agenda item was&nbsp;motivated by politics and race.</p><p>City Manager Brian Haddix’s job was on the line, but many, including Haddix, were not aware of a specific reason for the effort against him.</p><p>After heated comments from the public and a closed door meeting that Mitchell called illegal,&nbsp;the council voted 4-0 to retain Haddix. Mitchell excused himself from that closed session.</p><p>More people attended than could fit inside council chambers, so the meeting was moved to the fire department. </p><p>Sanger residents broke out in applause when the city attorney Scott Cross announced the decision to retain Haddix.</p><p>Haddix’s supporters credit&nbsp;him with&nbsp;bringing the small city from the brink of bankruptcy.</p><p>&quot;I got grey hair just sitting there waiting. No, I think it speaks to the unity of the city,&quot; Haddix said in response to the support he received.</p><p>Mitchell said the effort was&nbsp;motivated by politics and race&nbsp;and lead by three city council members, after the council’s newest member, Humberto Garza, was elected last month.</p><p>&quot;He’s (Garza’s)&nbsp;been crystal clear that there’s just simply is not enough colored people in city hall, and there’s too many white people. He’s been crystal clear about that in the way of two open letters to the city council prior to him being elected,&quot; Mitchell said.</p><p>Sanger residents&nbsp;also alleged racism by three Hispanic council members against Haddix, who is white, and said the intention to fire him was&nbsp;ridiculous. Many Hispanic residents spoke in support of Haddix.</p><p>Council member Eli Ontiveros was one of the members who called the special meeting, and he said it had nothing to do with race.</p><p>&quot;There’s been a lot of questions from the public that [are] pretty much ongoing for a year, two years, with no action taken, and some of the residents [are] suffering,&quot; Ontiveros said. </p><p>He would not elaborate on the specific issues that prompted the closed session meeting.</p><p>Sanger resident and business owner James Pinedo said that if the council fired Haddix,&nbsp;he would&nbsp;lead a recall of the council.</p><p>&quot;I’ve worked with Mr. Haddix. I&nbsp;know what he’s done in Sanger. I&nbsp;moved from Fresno back to Sanger because of the improvements that Sanger has made,&quot; Pinedo said. </p><p>Mitchell excused himself from the closed session portion of the meeting because he said it was in clear violation of the Brown Act (open meetings law) that dictates that a&nbsp;majority amount of council members&nbsp;can’t meet privately to discuss a city council agenda item or something that could become an item on the agenda in the future.</p></div>

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