Documenter: Heather Halsey Martinez

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims was in council chambers to show appreciation for the Clovis Police Department’s support for the 2020 Creek Fire. She presented Clovis Police Chief Curt Fleming with a special challenge coin and thanked him for his cooperation that helped successfully evacuate 22,000 people with no serious injuries or deaths. 

  • The Clovis City Council approved four items on the consent calendar, including reappropriating $55.9 million in expenditures to carryover funds from the 2020-21 budget, amendments to the city’s compensation plan due to an upcoming retirement of the executive assistant and a final tract map for a Lennar development in the southeast area of Shaw and Leonard Avenues. 

The Scene

The Clovis City Council meeting took place on Oct. 4, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. The meeting was made available via Webex and YouTube Live. The agenda no longer states that face masks are required for those who attend in person due to COVID-19 and none of the council members wore face masks. 

Whalen was not in chambers when the meeting began. Flores said he was running late and would join them late. 

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)

Bessinger led the council in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims was in council chambers and provided a special presentation to show appreciation for the Clovis Police Department’s support for the 2020 Creek Fire. “As a result of that cooperation, there were no serious injuries and no loss of life,” she said. 

She said the Creek Fire started on the busy Memorial Day weekend and 22,000 people were evacuated. Mims said the Creek Fire is still the single largest in California state history and more than 800 structures burned. 

She was joined by Clovis Police Chief Curt Fleming who said it was an honor and they have several officers that live in the area. “When you called, we jumped,” he said. “And we’ll continue to do that anytime we’re called.” Mims and the council each provided the other with a challenge coin. 

Bessinger shared a story from a night when he witnessed several helicopters bringing in fire evacuees. He said it was impressive to watch all the law enforcement agencies, National Guard and ambulances that worked together to help them. 

From there, the meeting was open for public comments. A resident of Blackhorse Estates spoke to the council and thanked them for their comments and suggestions. He said that they conducted an election and selected a citizens advisory board of seven members. The board president was in council chambers and spoke to the council about their intentions. 

It was noted that the City Clerk will cover the citizens advisory board meetings going forward. 

Actions

  • Approved minutes from September 20 meeting. 

  • Approved amendments to the 2021-22 budget to reappropriate $55.9 million in expenditures to carryover funds from the 2020-21 budget. 

  • Approved amendments to the city’s compensation plan due to an upcoming retirement of the executive assistant: 

    • Executive assistant monthly salary range increased from $5,581 to $6,784.

    • Authorize city staff to freeze the current incumbent at the existing monthly salary range of $6,926 to $8,419 until the incumbent’s retirement date of Dec. 31, 21. 

    • Authorize overfill of the executive assistant position for two months for transitional training.

  • Approved final tract map for a Lennar development in the southeast area of Shaw and Leonard Avenues. 

Flores opened the meeting for comments by City Manager Luke Serpa. Serpa gave an update on COVID cases. He shared a graph showing that both the confirmed cases and confirmed deaths in Fresno County were dropping. He also shared a graph showing the cases comparing on a per capita basis with vaccinated cases, which was a significant difference. It showed you are eight times more likely to get Covid and 17.5 times more likely to die from Covid if you are unvaccinated. 

Flores then opened the meeting for council comments:

  • Mouanoutoua said they were at the League of California Cities Conference (Cal Cities) annual conference. 

  • Whalen said he was also at the conference. He said one area they discussed was law enforcement’s use of social media outside of employment. He said a Fresno Police Department situation was used as an example.

  • Ashbeck said she attended COG last week and it was routine in nature. She said she will be absent from next Monday’s meeting and apologized to Clovis Unified Superintendent O’Farrell and Board President Fogg. 

  • Bessinger said he did not attend the Cal Cities conference due to other work obligations. He did attend Clovis Night Out on Saturday night at Dry Creek Park.  

  • Flores said he didn’t attend COG, but attended the Fresno County Economic Development Corporation’s 40th Anniversary at the Fresno Zoo. He also attended Cal Cities and a seminar on Facebook where he felt encouraged to use it as a way to connect with constituents. He went on to say that they voted on a resolution that made the “five minority caucuses” part of the Cal Cities board, referring to the five diversity caucuses

    • He said that those trying to object to it were voted out. 

    • He said it was voted on by written ballot and he laughed saying, “You might see my name, Clovis might be the lone no vote on that one, with my name on it.” “I’ll be canceled so we’ll see,” he said while laughing. “Clovis will be canceled.” 

The council moved into a closed door session at 6:29 p.m. to discuss the public employee appointment of the city manager and for a conference with labor negotiator. Flores said they might report back if any action is taken. 

The Webex and YouTube streams ended, so it wasn’t clear how that would be communicated virtually, if at all. 

The next meetings will be Oct. 11 (joint meeting with Clovis Unified School District) and 18 and Nov. 1, 8 and 15. 

If you believe anything in these notes is inaccurate, please email us at Documenters-admin@thefresnoland.com with “Correction Request” in the subject line.

Support our nonprofit journalism.

$
$
$

Your contribution is appreciated.