HERCULES -- The City Council on Thursday picked former Contra Costa County Administrator Phil Batchelor as interim city manager.

Batchelor, who has also served as interim city manager in Richmond and Vallejo, will replace Steve Duran, who will leave in January to become Antioch's city manager.

The vote to appoint Batchelor was 5-0.

Batchelor's work agreement is for six months, from Jan. 1 through June 30. He will be paid $18,333 a month, or the annual equivalent of $220,000, and receive no benefits.

"One of his primary tasks will be to help recruit a permanent city manager," City Attorney Patrick Tang said during a break in the meeting, speaking for the council.

Batchelor, a Danville resident, was Contra Costa County's administrator from 1984 until 2001, when he retired. He was the assistant executive of Santa Clara County from 1981 to 1984.

In Contra Costa, Batchelor was praised as a strong financial manager who consistently produced balanced budgets.

Since then, he has held various interim administrative and consulting posts, including interim Yolo County administrator, special adviser to the city councils of Antioch and Newport Beach, and positions with housing, water and library agencies.

He became Richmond's interim city manager in August 2004 amid a city budget crisis; by the time he left in March 2005, he had renegotiated the city's contracts with its labor unions and was widely credited with straightening out the city's finances.

He was hired by Vallejo as interim city manager in November 2010 while that city was in bankruptcy. Vallejo emerged from bankruptcy in 2011, and Batchelor left in early 2012.

Contact Tom Lochner at 510-262-2760. Follow him at Twitter.com/tomlochner.