Hemet’s city manager — who’s been absent from the past four city council meetings and evaluated by the council at least six times behind closed doors — has resigned.
Christopher Lopez’s resignation is effective Thursday, June 16, a city news release states. It gave no reason for Lopez’s departure.
Hemet Police Chief Eddie Pust, who has been the acting city manager, will continue in that role while the city looks for a replacement, the release states.
The announcement was issued at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, after Hemet City Hall closed. Also, city offices are shut on Fridays.
Mayor Mayor Malcom Lilienthal could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday evening.
Pust and some city council members have not returned phone calls in recent weeks seeking information about Lopez’s status.
Lopez was evaluated by the Hemet City Council during closed sessions on Tuesday, April 12; Tuesday, April 26; Wednesday, May 4; Tuesday, May 10; Tuesday, May 24; and Tuesday, June 14; according to the agendas. He appeared at the first two sessions, but was not seen during last month’s sessions or the Tuesday, June 14, meeting, nor have his absences been addressed publicly, videotapes of the meetings show.
Lopez was the 13th person to serve as Hemet’s city manager since 2000.
Lopez’s starting salary was $220,000 in December 2019. His last pay increase to $246,000 was in June 2020.