Watsonville Hires New City Manager

Watsonville Assistant City Manager Matt Huffaker has been promoted to the top administrator position. He will assume the job after the departure of City Manager Charles Montoya on August 1. Montoya has accepted the same position in Avondale, Arizona.

The vote to appoint Huffaker was unanimous, but it was not without criticism. A number of nonprofit leaders had called for an open recruitment process and were disappointed that the city appeared to settle so quickly on Montoya’s number two.

"Matt is a seasoned and community-oriented leader, who has proven his commitment to Watsonville over the past two years in his role as the Assistant City Manager,” said Mayor Lowell Hurst. “His experience building relationships and working with a variety of stakeholders to move the community forward will serve Watsonville well.”

Huffaker has been with the city since June 2016, having previously worked for Walnut Creek. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Point Loma Nazarene University and a master’s degree in public administration from California State University East Bay.

Huffaker’s contract calls for an annual salary of $200,000 plus benefits. He will receive a $10,000 increase in pay each year through 2021 subject to positive yearly reviews.