By Christopher Quilter
In a recent comment in the Indy, Michele Monda urged residents to make our voices heard concerning the next city manager. She even supplied your emails. So here goes: First let me say that given the state of the state we live in, please hire a Californian. To subject anyone else to our sacred snake pit of state rules and regulations would be cruel and unusual punishment.
Next, please don’t hire a current city manager, unless it’s Ben Siegel, because you will never stop wondering what really went wrong on the last job. It would be much wiser to hire an assistant city manager looking for career advancement, plus benefits. Given the town we live in, please make sure that the person you hire has had extensive experience living and working in a coastal destination like ours, overrun with tourists and inhabited by rich white people carping at one another. A thick skin is also an essential prerequisite.
The job description of the person you hire is to implement your collective vision for Laguna Beach. That’s because you and you alone, and not the city manager, were democratically elected to decide this. (It’s in your job description.) Although it is well-established that you are a testy bunch right up until you vote 5-0, making you happy enough is the easy part of a city manager’s job.
The person you hire will also have to deal with passionate, tireless, self-appointed guardians of all that is best for us. They will turn the person you hire as soon as he or she or them fail to bend to their will. You’re used to this and take it in stride, except for Peter. (The jury is still out on George.)
Even then, the constant barrage of criticism, laced with scorn, has to wear on even the most sober-sided city manager, even one who is wise enough to save it for his memoirs or a few parting pot shots. One more thing: if you have the good fortune to be able to choose from a number of highly qualified candidates and a woman is among them, give her closer scrutiny.
In the unlikely event that she emigrated here from a land far beyond the greenbelt, has a slight accent that signals “not from here,” and yet has chosen Laguna as the place she wants to be, despite knowing that just as a woman she will have to work twice as hard and be twice as good to prove herself, hire her. Now that I have made my voice heard, let me add that I voted for some of you. But I trust all of you to hire a well-qualified future city manager. I think most of us feel the same way.
Christopher is a Laguna Beach native and one of the four sons of Elizabeth Quilter—namesake of the Susi Q Center.
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