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What Drove Fowler City Manager to Surprise Resignation?
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By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 2 weeks ago on
May 13, 2024
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Fowler city manager Wilma Tucker, right, resigns at the May 7, 2024, meeting, effective July 8. (Facebook/Yvonne M. Hernandez)

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Wilma Tucker surprised Fowler City Hall when she turned in her resignation as city manager at the May 7 city council meeting.

Tucker served for three years after holding the same role in Fresno from 2017 to 2021 when she was known as Wilma Quan-Schecter and Wilma Schecter.

“The joy is gone,” an emotional Tucker said last week while mostly reading from her resignation letter. She almost broke down in tears at one point.

In her resignation speech and letter, Tucker touted her accomplishments of balanced budgets, executive organization, and millions in grants for Fowler.

“This is a far cry from the mess that I inherited,” Tucker said.

Tucker’s predecessor, David Elias, was sentenced to two years’ probation in 2021 on two felony counts of misappropriating public funds. He also was required to pay nearly $35,000 to the city after an investigation indicated that he used city credit cards for personal and travel expenses.

Allegedly Harassed By Member of the Public

Tucker said harassment from a member of the public drove her to leave.

Last October, Fowler businesswoman Zaida España accused Tucker of assault. A sheriff’s investigation cleared the city manager.

Although Tucker did not mention her by name, she hinted that España filed more than 70 Public Records Act requests seeking information about Tucker and her staff. Anyone can file a PRA, a legally protected option to ensure an open government.

Tucker said stepping down came “significantly earlier than I desire, but my professional reputation and safety is of utmost importance to me.”

“I no longer enjoy or feel safe coming to the city to do my job. As you all know, I’ve been berated at every council meeting since October with very little defense from (the) council publicly,” Tucker said.

Tucker cited the “false criminal allegations” and other accusations about her job performance.

“I am the first to admit that I have thick skin, but enough is enough. I appreciate everyone’s First Amendment rights, but in my opinion, the line has been blurred with no end in sight,” Tucker said.

Tucker said the constant inquiries were “more drama than I personally care to contend.”

She also wanted to avoid any politics, with Mayor Daniel Parra and councilmembers Juan Mejia and Karnig Kazarian up for election in November.

Tucker said she had no further comment in a text message to GV Wire.

España Responds

España responded to Tucker’s resignation.

“I want to make it clear that all my interactions with staff are characterized by utmost respect and politeness. I believe the city manager’s claims of feeling harassed are merely efforts to avoid taking responsibility for her own misconduct, choosing to resign rather than face accountability for her actions,” España said in an email to GV Wire.

España said Tucker’s resignation is to evade “an investigation into ongoing issues regarding her practices of cronyism, assault, water contamination, etc., and other crucial matters that had already started being investigated. Deciding to resign after just one individual’s accusation of corruption and misconduct raises serious concerns about her overall integrity and the management of the city.”

Succession Plan

After she spoke to the city council, Tucker received a hug from city senior center supervisor Yvonne Hernandez.

Tucker’s last day is July 8. She recommended that deputy city manager Thomas Gaffery succeed her. Gaffery worked under Tucker in Fresno, as the parking division manager then as deputy city manager. He joined Fowler in 2021 shortly after the city hired Tucker.

In March, the Fowler City Council approved an amendment to Tucker’s contract, allowing her to cash out unused administrative leave — about $9,000. She earns $193,488 in base salary.

Parra said there is likely to be an interim manager before a firm is hired to to conduct a search for Tucker’s successor.

Mayor on Decorum

Parra called Tucker’s resignation “unexpected” and stated that she “had been harassed verbally quite a bit by a constituent.”

Tucker and Parra said other city employees felt uncomfortable by España’s presence, although she never made any violent threats.

He said España’s criticisms of Tucker are “unfair.”

“Some of the accusations she makes, even when I tried to correct, it just falls on deaf ears,” Parra said.

Parra said there is a line of decorum that España crossed.

“You all have your First Amendment rights, but when you do it and you have such hatred in your voice and the disrespect … it gets old,” Parra said.  “That’s not Fowler, that’s not how we act.”

Parra removed España  from a prior meeting. At the May 7 meeting, España  made her public comments remotely.

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David Taub,
Senior Reporter
Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

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