Salas, Who Left AV For Napa County Last Year, Named Barstow City Manager

Barstow has recruited Apple Valley’s former assistant town manager to replace Curt Mitchell as city manager.
Nikki Salas, who held the titles of director of human resources and risk management director with 74,000-population Apple Valley from 2009 until June 2016, at which point she promoted to to assistant town manager, will officially assume the city manager role in 24,000-population Barstow on April 8.
She left Apple Valley last year, and for the last seven months has been the director of human resources with Napa County. She was previously, for seven years, the assistant human resources division manager with the San Bernardino County Fire Division.
Reportedly, Salas competed with 72 others for the Barstow city manager position based upon an evaluation of the applicants carried out by the firm Peckham & McKenney, which recommended a set of finalists to be interviewed by a selection panel which included the city council and city luminaries including former Mayor Lawrence Dale.
Curt Mitchell, who has been Barstow’s city manager since 2011, gave indication last year that he would retire at the end of 2018. City officials, who had invested $173,601 in annual salary and another $43,600 in annual add-ons and benefits in grooming Assistant City Manager Cindy Prothro for the city manager’s position after promoting her from the position of finance director to that of Mitchell’s assistant in 2016, were unable to induce her to take on the assignment or even that of interim city manager upon Mitchell’s December 29 retirement. Instead, Mitchell retired, began pulling his pension and then took on the continuing assignment of serving as city manager at a rate of $107 per hour as a contract employee.
City officials came to a consensus that Salas, who boasts over two decades municipal experience and more than 18 years in advanced municipal administrative posts including personnel and information technology, was the best fit for the job.
Salas has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Cal State San Bernardino, a masters degree in business administration and management from Redlands University and a doctor of education degree in organizational management from Brandman University.
“This was an extremely competitive field, and Nikki emerged as the top candidate over several other experienced managers,” the city announced on March 5. “Her sustained effort at professional development, including two advanced degrees, her work ethic, and her intense commitment to the High Desert and to Barstow’s issues won the day.”
No information on her salary or benefits has been provided. On March 18, when the city council is set to ratify her hiring with an official vote, her pay level will likely be disclosed. Mitchell was receiving a salary of $203,343, add-ons of $23,601 and benefits of $26,059 for a total compensation package of $249,983.
Mark Gutglueck

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