NewsCovering Kern County


City of McFarland announces new City Manager Maria Lara

Posted at 9:19 AM, Aug 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-21 12:21:38-04

MCFARLAND, Calif. — The City of McFarland City Council has announced the selection of Mrs. Maria Lara as its next city manager.

City officials said Lara has been with the City of McFarland since 2015 and became the Community Development Director in 2017. Prior to her role as Community Development Director, she served as the Grants Director.

This announcement coming more than a year after former McFarland City Manager John Wooner disappeared and was eventually determined to have died after his body was pulled from the Kern River. He had been found inside a city-issued Dodge Durango that had gone over the embankment.

Following his death, the city announced an Interim City Manager, Larry Pennell. However, earlier this year Pennell announced his resignation due to health issues.

Before coming to McFarland, Lara worked in Idaho for Idaho Housing. She holds a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice from Boise State University, Boise, Idaho, as well as dual Bachelor’s degrees in Criminal Justice and Spanish from Boise State.

City officials stated that a few of Lara's accomplishments include securing $30 million dollars in grant funding to repair roads, construct new sidewalks, and the construction of Jim White Blanco Park. Funding was also used to acquire a new animal shelter, police officers, and secure new housing, the city said

“The Council has ambitious goals and an aggressive work plan for the next year, and I look forward to working in partnership with the Council in achieving their goals and vision for the City," Lara said in a release. "I'm also looking forward to leading the team of City employees and working with the City of McFarland community. McFarland is an amazing place and I feel very fortunate to be able to live and work for my community.”