Letter: Residents encouraged to take city manager survey


The City just posted a survey for residents to give input on selecting a new city manager. I encourage every resident to take the survey. I sense that they will listen to residents for the first time in six years, and our opinions will finally matter. Here is the link, and it is also posted on the City website under City News: www.surveymonkey.com/r/FZTN7V7.

I believe we need an experienced city manager of a similar-sized city with degrees in public policy. A fiscally responsible city manager who will spend money like it was their own – in other words, ask if it’s necessary and find the best solution at the best price instead of just granting contracts without bids. A city manager who will work for all five Council members instead of just a chosen few. A people person who can build consensus and loyalty among staff. A city manager who is willing to listen to resident concerns and actually cares about solving their issues; someone who understands residents’ passion for Laguna. A city manager who is committed to being transparent and open about what is going on with the City (our interim city manager is a perfect example of this) and respects that residents should be listened to in the running of our town. A cool, calm, mature city manager, experienced and credentialed, capable of steadying the ship of state without chaos. A city manager who delegates authority to their excellent staff and doesn’t tyrannically micromanage them into impotence. A city manager who cares more about residents than tourists. A city manager who understands how special and unique Laguna Beach is and will help preserve our interesting mosaic of a town, yet encourages business growth and compatible development. A city manager who will stop the bleeding at our police department. A city manager who is happy to live here and participate in our fabulously rich culture.

We have a new city council with new thinking. Now is our golden opportunity for more positive, progressive, resident-inclusive change. This time, let’s get it right.

Michèle Monda, Laguna Beach

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  1. The simple strategy is to have ‘their group’ flood the survery with ‘their point of view’ and then whine and cry when a City Manager is hired that doesn’t do exactly what ‘they said’.

  2. Thanks to the City Council for including in the recruiter’s scope of work reaching out to the community via conducting a public survey. And thanks to Michele Monda for taking the time to increase the survey opportunity exposure by writing this letter and encouraging ALL LB Stakeholders to take it.

    The hiring of our next city manager is critical. We cannot afford another Council majority pressured wrong-fit decision. It cost us dearly. We expect this Council to hire on our behalf a high-level professional CEO/Manager that has a proven track record of career success with an upstanding and positive community public relations reputation.

  3. Interesting Barbara and Doug that neither of you mentioned what was wrong with the qualities in a City Manager that I wrote. Instead both of you did ad hominum attacks on the people trying to get a responsible City Manager who will work for the residents. I don’t understand your kind of negativity. It’s a shame you don’t post something constructive.

  4. What Mrs. Monda lacks is vision, for retail as at least 20 major retailers have said they’re closing US stores in 2023, amounting to 2,847 locations. Rite Aid is the latest chain planning to close stores, joining a list that includes Amazon and Walmart. Bed Bath & Beyond closed 896 locations amid bankruptcy — the most of any retailer on the list. Us regular folks in Laguna aren’t immune to regular needs. Only the elites, who tell us what’s best for our ‘little town’. We need a manager with commercial experiences that will amount to profitable economics not politically correctness.

  5. How lazy is it to have a system where we pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to some search firm (who knows who they talk to?) to ‘find’ candidates the council can ‘interview’. Neither has experience in anything but CYA. As a former CEO in Newport I can tell you 100%, that any leader worth following has ten people in his Rolodex he’d like to hire. They don’t advertise on Craigslist for resumes! What should be done is have PAY a task force of ten top former CEO’s living here, that will each propose two candidates they are familiar with AND endorse. Judge those twenty according to their economic profitablility resulting from START UPS or TURN-AROUNDS and interview the top 3. Independant search firms using surveys will not work out anything except providing cover. Why is that satisfactory to the writer who has no ‘name’ suggestions of anyone she (Wharton) or her corporate leader (Yum Brands) husband knows?

  6. What City Manager who has all those qualifications would want to come to Laguna after our last one was harassed, bullied and vandalized by the very people who now write about being positive and constructive? They have narrowed the pool to those who would be willing to risk the abuse for the money.

  7. One more question for Michele: you’ve spoken at nearly every Council meeting for years about how they don’t listen to you – or other residents like you. What makes you think this selection would be any different?

  8. Thank you Michele for reminding everyone they can take the survey and thank you for activism in the community and others that also create such a service for the others that simply want to whine and call people names. A healthy city government is possible when things can be corrected and also called out when it is obvious that there is favoritism played to a certain group or person(s), yourself and others have taken so many ugly comments from those that would benefit from what has taken place for way too long and that takes courage! We now have the opportunity to get a real city Manger with education and management skills, Our interim Manager is doing a great job and he has had a lot to clean up, he is professional and actually has a sense of humor…I hope the New Manager will have all these same skills. Again, thank you for what you have done for this city.

  9. Michele,

    Pot kettle response. There’s absolutely nothing constructive or positive that you and your cohorts have done in the last 2 years.

    I’m sure there are always better city managers, but let me describe some of the qualities that you missed about the past city manager: vision to create a vibrant community; courage not to back down to bullies; ability to get things done; willing to listen to new residents and not bow down to village Laguna; leadership to support and protect her staff; ability to look outside the box.

    Those may not be qualities that you seek in a leader, but they are ones that I do. We all like fiscally responsive leaders. He typically don’t get to that point in your career unless you’ve already proven that.

    The voters will prove my point when they vote George Weiss out of office in 2024.

  10. Keith Grant – India why are you using that obvious alias? Exactly what relevance does my family background have in selecting a City Manager? You need to edit your remarks better bc they make no sense. Have Tony do it.

    Doug Vogel – what an embittered person you are. Of course you want to create that vibrant community for your “booming business”. With a concept like that you should be bringing in all the fun people to Laguna on your own. Since you love the last City Manager please give examples of her top ten accomplishments. Well, OK how about 5???


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