The Antioch City Council agreed on Tuesday to draft a contract to hire Interim City Manager Cornelius Johnson as the city’s permanent city manager.
The move came on a 2-to-3-vote during closed session, with Mayor Pro Tem Mike Barbanica and Councilmember Lori Ogorchock dissenting.
Before the vote, resident Ralph Hernandez, the only resident to comment, spoke in favor of Johnson, saying he has done a “wonderful job” in the last 10 months and should be given the permanent position.
“He (Johnson) is probably one of the best city managers that we have had,” he said. “I find that there’s really no need to go and look for somebody else. Mr. Johnson has done a very good job of putting the city through a difficult period of time as he has been the interim city manager. We can consider other people, but I don’t think that with Mr. Johnson’s tenure here so far, you’re going to replace him with somebody that’s going to do as well.”
Johnson, a retired San Francisco police lieutenant, was named the interim city manager in November of last year and it was expected the council would either name him to the permanent position or announce a method to conduct a search for the new top city leader. The matter was twice before on the agenda for closed session though no reportable action was taken. His current contract, which is for $241,644, expires Dec. 12.
Johnson, who will be Antioch’s first Black city manager, earned a bachelor’s degree in public administration and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of San Francisco.
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