2020-2021 San Joaquin County Grand Jury Report on the City of Manteca: A City Government in Turmoil

On July 15, 2021, the San Joaquin County 2020-2021 Civil Grand Jury released its report investigating the City of Manteca. The Civil Grand Jury’s duty is to address citizens’ concerns regarding the operation of local government entities. The city government of Manteca is led by a Mayor, City Council, and a City Manager who, collectively, manage the City’s finance, fire, police, public works, and parks and recreation departments.

The 2019-2020 Grand Jury opened an investigation into the City of Manteca after receiving several complaints but was unable to complete it during its term. Since then, the City of Manteca has been the subject of numerous media reports about the loss of several key employees in a noticeably short period of time, and more recently, reports in reference to serious financial issues. The 2020-2021 Grand Jury received additional complaints from concerned residents and decided to open an investigation. In its investigation, the Grand Jury conducted more than 20 interviews with city management, staff, and members of the city council. The Grand Jury also reviewed documents, media accounts, and relevant internet websites.

The Grand Jury found an overall lack of leadership, due to the promotions of unqualified individuals into executive-level positions, created a dysfunctional administration that failed to effectively manage city operations and fostered a hostile working environment leaving staff overworked and fearful for their jobs. The mayor was elected in November 2018 by Manteca voters and followed through on campaign promises to rid the city of department heads that were perceived to be slowing down progress. The newly appointed executives lacked the experience, qualifications, and financial acumen necessary for effective management of city operations resulting in inconsistent employment practices, insufficient training and development, and an uninformed reorganization plan that more experienced managers could have avoided.

The Grand Jury recommends the City of Manteca develop, implement, and adhere to a transparent set of personnel policies and procedures that will ensure institutional knowledge is maintained during periods of transition and employees are properly trained. Additionally, the City of Manteca should strengthen its auditing activities, internal and external, with better oversight by elected and appointed officials to avoid future financial blunders.
The public is encouraged to read the complete report by visiting the Grand Jury’s website.