A look back at Alcantor’s long urban career
After more than 15 years in the service of the City of Escalon, Tammy Alcantor had her last day of work on Thursday September 30th.
She has resigned previously, leaving Escalon for a new position at Riverbank.
The Escalon Times did a “question-and-answer” with Alcantor – who held the post of general manager / city clerk, as well as working with human resources and finance – as she prepared to leave city service.
Q: How long have you worked at the City and what was your initial job?
A: Seventeen and a half years old, I started in 2004 as an Account Clerk II.
How did you make the transition to wearing so many hats?
In September 2005, promoted Accounting Technician II following the resignation of an employee
In July 2007, promoted to Deputy Chief Financial Officer
In March 2009, promoted to CFO with the retirement of Ricky Gibbs
In October 2012, due to a layoff took over from the human resources administrator
In July 2013, appointed City Manager and Acting City Clerk – The City recruited and City Council found a successful candidate. At that time, our police department had been with an acting chief of police for over a year, and I suggested that the city council look for a chief of police to support the police department. We went to get the chief of police, chose a candidate who accepted, then 48 hours refused the job. We were able to get Mike Harden, former Modesto police chief, to act until Chief Mike Borges was hired. Both Chief Harden and Chief Borges have been instrumental in revitalizing the police service.
In October 2014, the City Council convinced me to accept the post of City Manager, which also included CFO / Human Resources Administrator / City Clerk.
How did you manage to juggle all these responsibilities?
I think juggling is the key word! I did my best to prioritize tasks and worked several hours a week and sometimes weekends when needed to cope with my tasks. The support of department heads and staff has been a critical part of my success. They are the backbone of the city and were ready to step in and help when needed, even when it wasn’t their job. It was really a team effort.
What has been most surprising about serving the city?
Government policies and procedures are difficult and sometimes onerous on your efforts. However, I have always kept in mind that they were put in place to ensure that the people who are entrusted with taxpayer money make the right choices. Understanding that your choices affect your community makes those choices even more difficult.
The most rewarding of municipal service?
I enjoyed working with the community and participating in community events; National Night Out, Park Fete, Christmas on Main and the latest movie nights!
Who do you think was most helpful in guiding you early in your career and who helped you manage your current role?
I would say I have two people who have been my most important mentors in government: former CFO Ricky Gibbs and former city manager Henry Hesling. Ricky was my introduction to public finance and guided me through my early years. Working with her has always been a pleasure. As General Manager Henry started his mentorship and then when I became Interim City Manager he helped me solve many complex issues and situations. He always had great advice and a history from his years of experience. Finally, I want to thank my mom, Sandra DeWinkle, who showed me that you can persevere in difficult situations with hard work.
What do you think are the most important accomplishments of your mandate?
Staffing levels restored within the police service;
Work through the cease and desist ordinance on the wastewater treatment plan;
New McHenry lifting station;
Replacement of the main sewer line;
Annual replacements of main water pipes;
Solar project at community center, library, police department and sewage treatment plant;
The replacement of the lights of the ball field at Hogan Park;
Water and sewer rate adjustments – although I understand this is not popular, it is essential to maintain the infrastructure.
Replacement of water meters by automatic reading meters
Hogan Park Bathroom Replacement – April 2022
Connection to SSJID surface water plant
Engineering for improvements to the wastewater treatment plant
Do you have any advice for your potential successor?
Take care of your staff, mentor them, appreciate them and reward them. But don’t wear too many hats!
What will you miss the most about your job for the City?
The staff are my family and the most difficult to leave. I love them all and appreciate each of them for their contribution to the community.
Tell us a bit about your new position
I will be the Deputy Director of Finance for the Town of Riverbank. I will be doing many of the tasks that I currently do here at Escalon as CFO. It’s a slightly bigger city, and there will be some financial areas that I haven’t been exposed to currently, and I can’t wait to learn. In addition, I am delighted to meet my five employees and get to know them and their work.