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Guadalupe Mayor John Lizalde listens to city staff during Tuesday's council meeting. 

The city of Guadalupe moved forward Tuesday in its four-month search for a new police chief with the two finalists scheduled to be interviewed by the City Council on July 21.

On June 28, Guadalupe officials held oral board interviews with three candidates vying to be the city’s next police chief. Two candidates from the oral board interviews were ultimately recommended to continue to the next stage of the recruitment process, which will involve interviews before the City Council at 10 a.m. July 21.

On Tuesday, human resources director Amelia Villegas updated the council on the progress of the search.

“We’re now in the final stages,” Villegas said, adding that the candidates' resumes and applications will be introduced beforehand and the council will develop questions for each of the hourlong interviews with the finalists.

Once a final candidate is selected, that individual will go through “a rather extensive background check,” Villegas said. The background investigation is expected to take anywhere from one to two months.

Should the selected candidate pass the background check, the candidate will be scheduled to have a psychological evaluation and a pre-employment health screening.

Villegas declined to provide the names of the two candidates and said an announcement would happen after the selection was made.

In other business, finance director Annette Munoz presented the city’s audited financial report from the 2016-17 fiscal year.

The total revenues from Guadalupe’s governmental activities rose around $460,000 from 2016-17, going from $3.89 million to $4.35 million. During that same period, expenses increased by around $729,000, from $4.26 million to $4.99 million.

The most severe deficiency found in the audit — which was conducted by Oakland-based accounting firm Badawi & Associates — was that the city had overspent money from four different city funds, then covered the overspending by borrowing from other funds. As of June 30, the cash overdraft balance — the amount borrowed from other funds — stood at around $307,000 for the General Fund, $280,000 for the Wastewater Treatment Fund, $76,000 for the Solid Waste Fund and just $2,500 for the Library Fund.

According to auditors, the money most likely came from the Measure A and Gas Tax funds.

“Those funds are legally restricted and the use of those funds for purposes other than the legally intended purpose is not allowed,” Badawi & Associates staff wrote.

Auditors recommended the city analyze the General Fund to determine where the money came from and then present a repayment plan to the City Council.

Other significant deficiencies included a lack of proper record keeping of the city’s capital assets and long-term liabilities, and poor control over payroll.

Auditors found the city has not maintained accurate records of the city’s assets and long-term debt and is instead relying on loosely maintained spreadsheets.

Auditors recommended the city conduct inventory of its capital assets and implement a system to track long-term debts to ensure that Guadalupe is in possession of all debt agreements and repayment schedules. Additionally, auditors recommended that payroll be reviewed by a second person. Guadalupe city staff agreed to adopt the recommendations.

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Razi Syed covers Santa Maria City Government for Lee Central Coast Newspapers.  Follow him on Twitter @razisyed


City Government