NewsCovering Kern County


McFarland Mayor Manuel Cantu to resign

Manuel Cantu
Posted at 10:45 AM, Feb 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-19 15:22:15-05

In an interview with 23ABC, McFarland Mayor Manuel Cantu said he will resign effective at the end of the day Wednesday. Cantu, who has been the mayor of McFarland for nine years, said that he was resigning because he thinks "it's time for other leadership to emerge."

Cantu went on to say that though he feels he has left the city in a "wonderful position," he is unsure where the residents stand in regards to their support.

"We have put the city in a wonderful position. We have voted to expand our city limits out to about 2,200 acres south of McFarland. We are pushing tax-share agreements with the county to expand our sphere of influence. We have a lot of great stuff happening," said Cantu. "However, I don't know where the residents fall in terms of their support and their investment in the community. And so if our direction is not the right direction for supporting law enforcement, for supporting jobs, for supporting businesses, then maybe new leadership needs to emerge to take the city to the next chapter, whatever they choose to do."

Cantu said he is looking to spend more time with his family, and possibly moving in the direction of the ministry. "I am also a minister and would like to consider leaving that door open to see if God has me moving in the area of the ministry. There are other areas in my life that I want to start exploring."

Cantu also said that the current investigation into the death of John Wooner was one of the factors he considered in making his decision.

"This [his resignation] definitely has something to do with that. John was a great team leader and John was a great friend - John is a friend - so him not being here definitely has created some emotions for me that I have to consider as well. We were a great team and so obviously not having John here with us is one of the many factors that I take into consideration."

"2019 was a very challenging year for me and the city of McFarland. And so that was also something I considered in making the decision."

Steve McFarland, who serves as the Mayor Pro Tem, will serve as interim mayor. The city council also has the option of appointing an interim mayor until a new one can be elected in November.