I am asking City Council to take into account the overwhelming desire of residents for a fresh perspective, people-oriented, qualified city manager. I attended all three listening seminars; these qualities were repeated by numerous neighbors:
1. Ability to listen and negotiate between the different groups in Laguna
2. Professional experience – Master’s degree, financial prowess, existing city manager experience
3. People person, especially as it pertains to interacting with the public and staff
4. Foster a transparent and trustworthy city government
5. Create a positive work environment to develop and retain employees. Be a team builder.
6. Fiscally responsible
In my opinion, if you look at the list above that residents stated were important to them, our current Assistant City Manager, Shohreh Dupuis, does not hit those metrics. I am very concerned that she only has experience in two departments, does not have either a finance or Master’s degree or experience, has never been a city manager, reputedly has difficult working relationships with the staff, ignores resident requests (I personally had to contact her three times to get an answer), micromanages her staff (I experienced this with a request for a parking interview with Paula Faust) and is fiscally imprudent (Bluebird Canyon Park slide, Main Beach renovations, Promenade) with resident money. In my opinion, we will have a mass exodus of employees if she is named city manager. In my opinion, our Human Resources director was the first to go.
Now is the time to get fresh new ideas along with a proven, qualified, experienced city manager who is both fiscally responsible and a people-oriented leader. Residents are asking for that. If you want to “heal” the town, going with the current regime will only perpetuate the divide. Imagine someone who could get everyone together and make compromises.
Please strongly consider the qualified candidates who you were presented. Laguna deserves the best we can get, not a continuation of a tired, political regime that only works for some residents and does so in darkness.
Michèle Monda, Laguna Beach
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