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December 4, 2023

Avera reflects on city career, weighs teaching in retirement

It will be right at about 25 years with the City of Hollister when City Manager Bill Avera retires in November.

Avera, who announced his upcoming retirement at Tuesday’s council meeting, reflected on his career Wednesday and pointed to the “nice round number” of 25 years with the city and just about six years as city manager.

Avera informed the council of his plans last month and made it official with a resignation letter Tuesday.

“I feel fairly fortunate that I lasted as long as I did,” Avera said.

In reflecting on his career with the city, Avera made particular note of his long time as director of the Hollister Redevelopment Agency, which went away with other RDAs after the state dissolved the program in 2011.

“We did a lot of affordable housing,” Avera said. “We put a lot of people in the first-time homebuyer program.”

Avera mentioned how he worked with six city managers and around 30 city council members in his time.

“We’ve had some good times and we’ve had some hard times,” he said. “Going through the recession wasn’t easy.”

Still, he mentioned how Hollister got the 1 percent sales tax passed in recent years that solidified the city’s finances and his hopes for future financial stability for Hollister.

For himself going forward, Avera said his family plans to stay in the Hollister area, while his wife still works for San Benito County. Avera hinted he may give teaching a try after retirement from city management.

“I always wanted to kind of be a teacher,” he said. “I don’t know if that’s something I’m interested in doing full time, but I’ll look into that potential as well.”

Avera said the question has come up: Why the long notice before retiring Nov. 15?

“The one thing that’s the most important thing for me is I wanted to make sure the council had plenty of time to find a replacement, whatever they decide to do,” he said.

He said hiring for such roles takes a lot of time with interviews and background checks and such.

“I’ve been kind of saying they should make the appointment around the beginning of September,” he said.

His impending departure comes after the arrival of four new council members, with the November election and appointment of Carol Lenoir last year.

“I think anybody that serves that many years of service to a local government agency deserves to be celebrated for all of their accomplishments, and recognized for his dedication and work,” said Councilman Rolan Resendiz, the District 2 official elected in November.

Still, Resendiz said it’s an exciting time for the city.

“We have a relatively new council. We’re going to have a new city manager,” he said.

Another new council member, Honor Spencer, had glowing remarks for Avera and said she would miss him.

“I honestly think that we’re losing a very good man,” Spencer said. “He’s done very good for this town.”

She said he will be “truly missed.”

“I can’t say enough,” she said. “I will miss him, but we will find a replacement with his help. He loves this community, and that’s what matters the most is that he really does love this community.”

The city’s top finance official Brett Miller was not immediately available to discuss Avera’s current pay and retirement package.