Finding a replacement for Chief Financial Officer Jim Throop, who announced his resignation for a new city manager job in Lompoc, will be one of the first tasks for Riverside Assistant City Manager Alex Nguyen who will be become Oxnard’s new City Manager on July 9; Nguyen’s total compensation package is $335,000.
“I’m excited about his background and what he brings to the city in terms of experience,” Ramirez said, adding that there is a unanimous consensus among City Council members to hire Nguyen. “He has excellent credentials and experience; I think the community is going to like him.”
Former City Manager Greg Nyhoff announced his resignation in December for a city manager position in Vallejo, California. His official last day was Jan. 5 after starting with the city in 2014. He hired Throop in 2016 who spent the last two years straightening out Oxnard’s financial system and getting the city on track toward a more favorable credit rating.
“Lompoc is in a position right now to do great things. It has all the ingredients right there and they just need to be stirred together,” said Throop, who was Paso Robles’ director of administrative services for nine years before he came to Oxnard.
“It just presented itself and you don’t pass up an opportunity like that,” said Throop, who begins his new job on July 30 and still has family in Paso Robles. “It’s in the same area as Paso Robles, and so I know there’s potential there.”
Throop took over the job of rebuilding the city’s accounting system in 2016, shortly after auditors found that financial records were so confusing that the city couldn’t be properly audited. He says that most of the steps toward putting a functional system in place have been taken.
“Removing the qualified findings, that was a big one, and completing an audit” of the city’s finances earlier this year, said Throop, referring to the findings of an independent audit that led to a drop in the city’s credit rating from A to A-minus in 2017.
“When we go out and try to do refinancing of the the city’s debt, it will be easier,” with the auditor’s findings cleared up, Throop said. “The city can get a better credit rating and we’ll have more purchasing power.”
Throop said that the results of other changes he made during his tenure won’t be so obvious to the public, like changing the city’s policy of having multiple contracts with companies providing the same service, such as pest control.
City Councilwoman Carmen Ramirez said that she was impressed at the amount of progress Throop and his staff had made toward fixing Oxnard’s accounting system, completing an audit of the system despite being understaffed.
“We don’t have a very large staff; they work diligently,” Ramirez said, noting that the audit had exposed some things that need to be fixed. “It’s hard on people; we have not been modernizing our finance system, but we have a plan to bring us into the modern age.”