This year, the City of Laguna Beach will hire a new city manager to replace City Manager John Pietig slated to retire in June of 2021. Laguna Beach is a beautiful coastal city with a great reputation and is considered to be a highly sought after place of employment. The City should be able to attract the highest qualified candidates.
The City Council chooses the city manager. After receiving public input regarding the qualities desired for this critical position and considering new management, they agreed to hold an open executive search. The issue became somewhat controversial among city leaders and constituents. This was resolved on Saturday, January 30, 2020 when the City Council voted 4-1 to hire Bob Murray & Associates to conduct an executive search and include constituents input in the process.
Interesting to note that City Councilman Peter Blake publicly opposed the public’s request to do an outside search, voted no on the open recruitment, and stated he wanted to hire internally and had selected Assistant City Manager, Shoreh Dupuis. In interviews, CC Blake expressed his bias and favoritism of Ms. Dupuis. In fact, in a STUNEWS story, he stated that he felt that if she didn’t get the job, she would leave our city. He used this same threatening approach in 2019 to secure ACM Dupuis a $25,000 salary increase for “future” work. Residents objecting to the salary increase requested proof that a position had been offered to Ms. Dupuis at the time but none was ever provided. It was disappointing to hear since Ms. Dupuis is paid a top salary and benefit package and taxpayers subsidized her Laguna Beach Beach $1.6 M home when she was hired in 2016 with primarily government public works and some transit related experience. In various polls on social media, residents support open recruitment for the replacement of the top-notch city manager rather than promoting from within.
Local Media Coverage:
Laguna Beach City Council under pressure to open recruitment for next city manager – LB Indy
Laguna Beach City Manager John Pietig Announces Retirement – LB Indy
Letters To The Editor: City Manager Recruitment – Stu News
Find more letters in Stu News Archives here
Letter: Why Are City Employees Leaving Laguna Beach? LB Indy
Letter: Is Our City Tuned into its Employees? LB Indy
Opportunity for Public Input on city manager position press release – LB Patch.com