The Encinitas City Council heard from community members on Wednesday night regarding the characteristics residents would like to see in a new city manager. City Manager Phillip Cotton is scheduled to leave by June after serving Encinitas for 12 years—four of which have been as city manager.
Encinitas has employed Sacramento-based executive search and consulting firm Peckham & McKenney to find Cotton's replacement. Nearly 40 applicants have already submitted their résumés for consideration.
“We as a council definitely want to hear your input as to what you believe some of the attributes of our next city manager ought to be,” Deputy Mayor Jerome Stocks said.
Multiple community members suggested hiring someone who would knowingly forgo the pension program in order to save money. The pension program provides city government employees with a retirement income, which has been hotly contested throughout California.
Tony Kranz, an Encinitas resident and former candidate for the Encinitas City Council, encouraged the council to seek someone outside the immediate area in order to avoid any bias toward one particular region of the city. “I think the most important attribute the new city manager should have is an ability to maintain independence and neutrality while serving five City Council members,” he said.
Primary duties for the city manager include overseeing law enforcement, working with budgetary matters and helping to plan community events. The city manager also helps to support the council and works directly with the San Dieguito Water District and Encinitas Housing Authority.
Qualifications include, but are not limited to:
- A professional and mature manager with the highest of integrity and ethics who embraces open government and transparency.
- A master’s degree in public administration, business administration or a closely related field is required.
- A responsive and effective communicator.
Résumés are due by Feb. 21, and the council hopes to have its decision finalized by the time Cotton exits in early June.
In other news, Councilwoman Maggie Houlihan discussed an anticipated litigation against San Diego Gas & Electric. About a year ago, SDG&E increased its electrical fee, which Houlihan says was changed without the city’s awareness. “We consider this to be an unjustified and unfair interpretation of the rates,” she said.
The council also heard from multiple residents regarding positions on the Housing Authority Board. More than 25 applicants made their case to obtain spots on multiple commissions; one resident even serenaded the council members with a song.
Council members will fill the positions by Feb. 23, and terms will begin in March.