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New documents show further details on Shafter's city manager resignation

Posted at 11:23 PM, Aug 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-15 14:31:37-04

SHAFTER, Calif. — New details are coming to light regarding the sudden resignation of the now-former Shafter city manager, Scott Hurlbert.

Cathy Prout, former mayor and current council member of the city of Shafter, says that Tuesday's special city council meeting was a call for the community to come together.

“It's the fact that we have to show leadership in unity, unity with all of us together," said Prout. "And we have to have the public get informed and make sure we follow those lines."

The special city council meeting resulted in the resignation of Hurlbert and Prout says it was not a mutual decision.

"The 3-2 [vote] lets you know that we were not all together, which is unfortunate," Prout said. "While trying to work through the issues there was a difference in what they wanted to change and I’m not sure what all the changes are that other council wanted.”

The meeting was packed on Tuesday with people standing outside. The majority of attendees expressed their concerns about not knowing the exact reason for the resignation of Hurlbert.

"The citizenry has not been actively involved as we should," said Larry Starrh, a Shafter citizen. "Now there has been a lack of information being put forth and it's becoming cloudy and its creating low morale."

Prout shares that Hurlbert chose to resign and said he was not terminated. He submitted this letter stating in part the following. "Please accept my letter of resignation with the intention to retire, following the terms of agreement separation."

"It's not a secret and it shows his 12-month salary including benefits and it totals $248,000," Prout said.

23ABC obtained the former city managers contract stating that he resigned in October of 2018 for the next five years.

In the contract, under the termination clause states in part the following.

"In the event that Hurlbert provides written notice, he shall be entitled to receive at the termination of this employment only such accrued unused leave and other such benefits. Hurlbert shall not, however, be entitled to any severance pay or other compensation at the termination of his employment."

Jim Zervis, who is currently Shafter's finance director, was voted interim city manager. The next step is hiring a new city manager which council and the community believes will take some time.

"I hope they use good measure and credentials in choosing the next city manager whoever it is," said Susie Richard, a resident. "I can’t imagine anyone doing any better than what Scott and John did for the city."

23ABC did speak with Hurlbert who says he is not sure what's next for him and says he is proud to have served the people of Shafter.

23ABC also reached out to the three city council member who voted him out, but none were available for comment.