Hanford city manager resigns amid public controversy

FRESNO, Calif.

Hanford City Manager Hilary Straus resigned Sunday afternoon. His departure comes after months of speculation by the public that Straus was abusing his power.

Just 24 hours after Hanford residents called for Hilary Straus' firing during a special city council meeting, the city manager submitted his resignation.

"Mr. Straus came by the office, our office Sunday afternoon and let us know he was resigning effective immediately," City Attorney Mario Zamora said.

On Saturday, a packed council meeting showcased numerous people taking to the podium and demanding city officials to get rid of Straus.

"Ever since Mr. Straus has come he's been slowly picking away at this city. He has put departments against departments, people against people," Former City Clerk Karen Madruga said.

Many residents were concerned Straus had too much of a say in a recent study performed by Matrix Consulting Group.

The company just released suggestions to the city council on how they can cut back on expenses. The report includes deep cuts to the police department and reorganizing the finance department to be run by the city manager.

On Monday, Mayor Sue Sorenson stressed the study is only a draft.

"I think it's important to understand the council has complete control over this report and nothing can be implemented without the council's support," Sorenson said.

City employees and the public have until the end of February to provide Matrix with their own input before the final recommendations by the company are submitted.

Until then, Mayor Sorenson hopes the city can move forward from Straus' resignation.

"We appreciate what he has brought and we wish him the best in his future as he moves forward we want our community to move forward as well," Sorenson

Tuesday night the City Council will meet in closed session at 6 p.m. to discuss appointing an interim or new city manager.

Afterwards, the councilmembers will discuss the plans during the public meeting at 7 p.m.

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