Posts Tagged ‘city manager’

Congratulations, Ben Harvey, on becoming Avalon’s new city manager.

I’ve worked with Harvey in my capacity as a reporter and his capacity as region manager, public affairs, for Southern California Edison and I’ve always found him to be one of the best professional spokesmen I’ve dealt with. I’d be shocked if he proved any less skilled as a city manager.

I don’t know Fire Chief/City Manager Steve Hoefs well. But I’ve covered five communities with city or general managers during the last four years and the impression I get is one of solid professionalism.

I was impressed when Hoefs and Chief Administrative Officer Charlie Wagner were hired to share the city manager position. I think other cities would benefit both financially and politically from a similar approach to the city manager’s position. A typical full-time city manager lasts three to six years before quitting or being fired. That raises the compensation they expect–and means the smart ones begin looking for the next job as soon as they sign on for the new job.

And that influences the projects they pursue.

Will Avalon hire two part time city leaders again? Who knows? The council may decide the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. They are in a better position to know that than I am. I can only hope that Hoefs’ successor and Avalon are a good match.

I cover local governments in Avalon, Paramount (a small town north of Long Beach), Seal Beach in in Rossmoor (a small, land-locked “island” surrounded by the cities of Long Beach, Los Alamitos and Seal Beach.

I keep hoping the communities I cover will look at Avalon and learn from example.

This week, I wrote a news story about Avalon’s plans to apply for grant money to replace the existing trolleys with electric buses. On the front page of the paper is a picture of the latest bird to join the ranks of the falcons that drive off Avalon’s undesirable birds.

On the mainland, in Seal Beach, the city’s iconic pier is covered with bird droppings and I find myself wishing Seal Beach would hire a falconer as Avalon has done.

I like the current Seal Beach City manager well enough, but when our last city manager quit, I found myself wondering if more cities would be better off by following Avalon’s practice of hiring a part-time city manager and part-time chief administrative officer.

In a time of tight budgets throughout the state, perhaps it is time for mainland communities to start looking at communities that have always had unique challenges—to steal, for lack of a better word, their ideas. Avalon abounds in creativity, be it in the art shows, the Christmas events, the art festival—or public administration.

I didn’t take the photo above, but I couldn’t resist using it to illustrate this post..