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Who should be the new city manager?

Our Laguna

June 11, 2010|Barbara Diamond

Bob Murray got an earful Wednesday night.

Murray is president of the company selected by the City Council to recruit a successor to City Manager Ken Frank, who will retire at the end of November. He hosted a public meeting at City Hall to hear what the community thinks would make an ideal successor, attended by about 30 folks, disappointing to some.

"We are here because we love this community," said Village Laguna founder and longtime resident Arnold Hano. "The people who are not here are not here because they love this community."

Hano said that the absentees were more perhaps more contented with the status quo than those at meeting.

"This is a great little town," Hano said. "We would like it to remain as little as we can. We would like it to remain as great as we can."

Hano also paid homage to Frank's ability to juggle conflicting interests in Laguna, considering the limits imposed by counting to three — the majority of the council.

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Hano was among the last of 26 speakers — some who spoke more than once at the freewheeling discussions.

"I don't know verbatim what was said, but what is of tremendous value is the flavor of what you are about," Murray said. "It is of particular value when I talk to candidates. They need to get it."

Plus, he has access to the tape of the meeting, which was televised and can be viewed on the city's website www.lagunabeachcity.net.

Murray acknowledged that not all factions of the city were equally or at all represented at the meeting, but he said the information and impressions he gathered would aid in his discussions with the council, when he met with the council individually and collectively the next day.

One recurring theme was the implementation of the 2030 Vision Committee recommendations.

"Two thousand people participated," committee member Marion Jacobs said. "The council loved the report. Everything was fine until implementation. Then it went off into the ether."

The public meeting was held at the council's request to solicit input from the community on three questions framed by Murray.

"I am interested in your perceptions of the issues, challenges and opportunities facing Laguna, not just today, but as you look to the future," Murray said. "The new city manager will be key in terms of implementing policies that the council establishes as it addresses those issues whatever they may be.

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