I would like to say how happy many of us in town were over the selection of a professional search firm for the city manager search. We had high expectations especially when it was announced that there would be three listening sessions for residents to give input on qualities they wanted in a city manager. We were further encouraged when it was posted on the city website, and I quote, “A report containing all the comments and feedback received will be compiled by the recruiter and provided to the Laguna Beach City Council.”
Imagine my surprise when I found out that this was not done. The City Council, to my knowledge, has not been provided with any feedback or compilation of comments or tabulation of comments by residents. So residents are not only being ignored again by the City Council but we wasted our time, energy and thoughtful consideration of what we want. This was a red herring, a sleight of hand to make us feel like we had relevance but without any feedback from the search firm to city council, it is all moot. A big zero. Residents marginalized again.
We paid this search firm close to $30,000 for this search. I heard that some pretty terrific experienced current city managers have applied for the job. So is it going to be just the opinions of the five city councilmembers that make this decision in a vacuum, ignoring residents? I contacted Gary Philips at the search firm last week to ask why feedback was not provided as stated. I have not heard back.
Why councilmembers, when it was on the city’s website and residents were led to believe you would receive the results of these listening sessions, were you not given the feedback and why have none of you requested it to make a more informed decision on a new city manager? Is it because the fix is in and it won’t matter anyway?
Michèle Monda, Laguna Beach
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