Why it matters?

With two of its longest-serving council members retiring, the City of Clovis will soon have two new council members making big decisions about future growth and the financing of city services.

Documented by Rachel Youdelman

The council honored retiring council members Bob Whalen and Jose Flores, as well as Betsy Sandoval who is retiring after 38 years of service on the Clovis Unified School District Board.

What happened: Attendees filled the Clovis City Council chamber on Dec. 5, 2022 to fete retiring council members Bob Whalen and José Flores. Flores served on the council for 24 years; Whalen for 20 years.

Mayor Pro Tem Lynne Ashbeck called the moment “bittersweet” and lamented what she called the loss of “40 years of institutional knowledge” with the departure of Whalen and Flores. She said that the impact they had could not be underestimated.

Whalen is a judge-elect in the Fresno Superior Court and Flores emphatically said that he was “not retiring from politics,” though he didn’t reveal any future plans.

Betsy Sandoval was also recognized for 38 years of service on the Clovis Unified School District Board.

Up next: Reorganization of the new council, with two new members, will take place Dec. 12 and will include the selection of a council member to serve as the Clovis mayor.

Diane Pearce, manager of a local small business, and Matt Basgall, former Clovis police chief, will join the council. Whalen and Flores are expected to be in attendance. The first regular meeting with the new council will take place on Dec. 19.

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The Fresno Documenters are a group of local residents who are trained and paid to attend and take notes at local public meetings where officials decide how to spend public money and make important decisions...