Documenter: Heather Halsey Martinez


  • Clovis is offering recruitment bonuses of $10,000 to help attract and keep police officers and $7,500 for public safety dispatchers.

  • The council moved forward the Loma Vista Village Green park project by approving a $608,000 contract for architectural design services.

  • The council approved the rezone required for The Well Community Church to move forward with plans to build a new location on Nees and Minnewawa Avenues. The land formerly belonged to the Smittcamp family. 

The Scene

The Clovis City Council meeting took place on Monday, April 19, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. The City was gearing up for the 107th Clovis Rodeo with COVID protocols in place, after last year’s was canceled. 

The meeting was made available via Webex and YouTube Live. The agenda states that face masks are required for those who attend in person due to COVID-19. Ashbeck was the only council member to wear a face mask throughout the meeting. The other council members did not wear face masks while seated during the meeting. 

Names of officials:

Jose Flores, Mayor (also Chief of Police, State Center Community College District Police Department)

Lynne Ashbeck, Mayor Pro Tem (also Senior Vice President Community Engagement and Population Wellness, Valley Children’s Healthcare)

Vong Mouanoutoua, Council Member (also External Relations and Project Development Director, Community Medical Foundation)

Bob Whalen, Council Member (also Fresno County Deputy District Attorney)

Drew Bessinger, Council Member (also Chief of Police, Fresno Yosemite International Airport)

The meeting opened with Bessinger leading the council in the Pledge of Allegiance. The council then presented a plaque to outgoing Personnel Commissioner Jerry Schuber. Schuber worked for the City of Clovis for 20 years and resigned as of April 30 to move to Oklahoma. 

Ashbeck then presented a proclamation declaring April 18 to 24, 2021 Infertility Awareness Week. 

From there, the meeting was open for public comments. No comments were made in council chambers or online. 


  • Approved minutes from the April 5 council meeting. Approved unanimously with no discussion.

  • Approved an agreement with Clovis Police Officers Association to include a recruitment bonus pay of $10,000 paid in four installments over a two-year period for lateral officers and in four installments over a three-year period for recruit officers. Staff says the bonus would help ensure adequate staffing to meet the needs of the department and safeguard community safety. Whalen requested to pull this item from the consent calendar for discussion. Approved unanimously with little discussion.

    • Whalen said he had three concerns and thought initially that he would be a, “no vote.” He asked whether the salaries are competitive, what they would do if other agencies offer larger signing bonuses and how these bonuses would impact the morale of current officers. 

    • Chief of Police Curt Fleming said they had a signing bonus in 2007 and it seemed to be beneficial and helped them attract four employees that are still with the department. They are currently having staffing challenges, as is law enforcement as a whole. 

      • He noted that salaries are about five percent higher than other agencies. 

      • He said they are going to hire someone and pay for them to go through the police academy.

      • “We would be setting up recruitment booths at high schools right now if they were open,” Fleming said.

      • He said for a class of 50 in the Police Academy, 20 will already be attached to an agency, so they are vying for the 30 other candidates. 

      • “We’re in some unique times and we’re trying to be unique to get through,” he said. He anticipates needing to hire 10 to 15 people in the next year. 

      • He said right now they are at 98 officers and they are authorized for 103 officers. In the last month, he said three officers had chosen to go to other agencies.

      • Fleming said one officer retired two years before he was eligible for full retirement due to societal forces and the pressure on law enforcement.

    • Whalen said he was impressed by the thought put into the answers and reasoning behind offering the bonus.

    • Bessinger asked if Fleming was aware of a bill to require police officers be 25 years old or have a bachelor’s degree. He said he was and it would make it more difficult, as would the bill to eliminate qualified immunity. “I think recruitment is tough right now…but those requirements would complicate things that much more for us,” he said.

    • Mouanoutoua said he’s seen the quality of the recruits and he’s confident in Fleming’s answers that they will not compromise the quality.

    • Ashbeck said, “I want to make sure we solve the longer range problem of funding the police department.”

    • Clovis Planning Commissioner Mike Cunningham was in council chambers and commented that he has a law enforcement  background and that he has seen a publication that shows all the recruitment bonuses and that two agencies were at $25,000. “It isn’t getting any easier to be a cop and you just have to sit one day in front of the news to see that,” he said. 

  • Approved an agreement with Clovis Public Safety Employees Association to offer $7,500 bonus pay to recruit experienced public safety dispatchers. The bonus would be paid in three installments over a two-year period. Whalen requested to pull this item from the consent calendar. Approved unanimously with little discussion.

  • Approved the rejection of a general liability claim for Jasbir Singh who alleged the Clovis Police Department used excessive force during an arrest, which he was injured and sustained emotional stress from the incident. Approved unanimously with no discussion.

  • Approved the execution of the certificates of assurances for the low carbon transit operations program and submittal of one project for fiscal year 2020-2021. The project is the allocation of $138,204 toward the purchase of a full-size battery-electric bus. Approved unanimously with no discussion.

  • Approved the award of an architectural design services contract for the Loma Vista Village Green in the amount of $608,000 to Klassen Corporation, Inc. The project will be located north of Gettysburg Avenue between DeWolf and Leonard Avenues. Approved unanimously with no discussion.

  • Approved a $650,208 Fowler Avenue reconstruction project from Barstow to Shaw Avenues. The project includes pavement grinding, grading, saw cutting, compaction, asphalt concrete paving, access ramp improvements, striping and signage. Approved unanimously with no discussion.

  • Receive and file public utilities report for October to December 2020. Whalen requested to pull this from the consent calendar for discussion. Approved unanimously with little discussion.

    • Whalen asked about page 51 of the packet, which has charts showing the amount of water production. He asked what the difference between artificial recharge and natural recharge was. 

  • Approved annexation of territory on the southeast corner of Barstow and Agua Dulce to the City of Clovis Community Facilities District and declared the results of a special landowner election to annex territory and recorded a special tax lien. Approved unanimously with no discussion.

  • Approved the rezone of the northeast corner of Nees and Minnewawa Avenues from single-family residential very low density to single-family residential low density for use by The Well Community Church. Whalen recused himself because he attends the church. Approved unanimously with little discussion. 

    • Ashbeck asked about CIP street improvements to Nees Avenue and why they weren’t being paid by the developer. Senior Planner Ricky Caperton said the improvements were already approved prior to the development being approved. 

    • The applicant, Brad Bell, was in council chambers. He said they intend to continue the legacy of the Smittcamp Family, which owned the property where the church is being built. He said he hopes the neighbors surrounding the property will enjoy coming to the church and using the facilities. He said they will have play structures, sand volleyball courts, green spaces and parking that will be open to the community.

    • Bill Smittcamp was also in council chambers and said he was born and raised on the ranch where the church will be located. He joked that this is where they need to put water because it is a, “sand pit of all sand pits.” He said his dad planned an Episcopal chapel on Clovis Avenue many years ago and that he was, “up there smiling about what we’re doing.”

  • Approved emergency order 2021-02 relating to employee leave and pay during emergency in accordance with Families First Coronavirus Responses Act. Approved unanimously with no discussion.

City Manager Luke Serpa gave an update on COVID-19 cases in the state and local area. He said cases in California and Fresno County are continuing to decline. In Fresno County,  5.9 adjusted new cases per 100,000 population, 3.5% positivity rate, 4.2% health equity quartile positivity rate. He noted Fresno County is in the red tier and he anticipates the area will move into the orange tier on Tuesday. 

Serpa said COVID-19 vaccine rates are plateauing in Fresno County. He said 581,121 doses have been administered in Fresno County to date and 32.8% of residents have received at least 1 dose with 20.8% of residents being fully vaccinated. The county is currently vaccinating any individual age 16 or older. “Somewhat disappointing is that Fresno County is plateauing in vaccine rates,” he said commenting on the fact that Fresno County sent thousands of vaccines to other counties, due to low demand. 

Bessinger asked how moving to the orange tier would affect the Clovis Rodeo. Serpa said they would be able to operate at 67% capacity. Serpa said the tier system would also go away entirely on June 15. Mouanoutoua asked if the county provides a certain amount of vaccines per city and Serpa answered that they do provide data by zip code.

Flores said the pandemic is nearly over due to the therapeutics and vaccines. “They do work, especially Pfizer and Moderna, people who have taken it were not dying and there’s no severe illness anymore,” he said. 

From there, Flores opened the meeting for council comments. Serpa said that it is rodeo week in Clovis and that they will be requiring recent negative Covid tests or proof of vaccination.

Mouanoutoua commented on the emails that they received about street racing and he noted that in Fresno it has caused accidents. Bessinger said that on Sunday Southwest Airlines will be making its inaugural flight into the Fresno Yosemite International and he hopes that will bring more people to Clovis. Ashbeck thanked the Clovis Rodeo Commission for moving forward and that she will not be absent for the May 3 meeting. She also commented on a car show in Old Town Clovis and the amount of trash left behind. Serpa also said that some of the temporary outdoor dining patios would be coming down by May.

Whalen said they had a public safety committee meeting and submitted recommendations. He said their focus has been responding thoughtfully to what is being proposed. Ashbeck also updated the council on the outcome from the Fresno COunty Transportation Authority meeting, including the findings of a Measure C survey that showed a large percentage of respondents wanted an extension. 

The public portion of the meeting adjourned at 7:36 p.m. Future meetings are scheduled for May 3, 10 and 17 and June 7, 14 and 21.  

The council then moved into a closed door session to discuss the price and terms for a property located at 1011 Fifth Street Street, where the city offices are located. 

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