As a child, I always wanted to enter a profession that would serve others. While in college, I began to understand all facets of government and was particularly interested in the branch of government that had the most direct and immediate impact in communities. Shortly after an internship opportunity I had at the city of Malibu, I quickly realized I found my passion, career path and way to serve others.
What do you enjoy the most about your role?
Every day is different. One day you could be addressing sales tax revenue projections. Another day you could be analyzing a building permit. The next day you could be organizing a community event. That fluidity between various skills and expertise enhances my curiosity and thirst for knowledge in local government. In my role, you’re always learning and attempting to execute while ensuring you’re maintaining the public’s trust. That’s a thrill I truly enjoy.
What city project are you most proud of?
As everyone in California is well aware, homelessness continues to be a challenging topic to address. While the County still has progress that needs to be made, I’m proud of how far cities like Manhattan Beach have come in making a marketable impact in addressing homelessness. In 2018, the city didn’t have any homeless services and would tend to respond reactively with identifying solutions for homeless individuals. Today, the city has expended a significant amount of staff time and funds which has culminated in assisting over 100 unique clients and placing over 50 individuals into housing. Providing housing is certainly challenging but I’m proud of building our homelessness programs from the ground up and assisting a great deal of people in the process.
What are the greatest challenges facing city managers in the state today?
City managers today are not unfamiliar with disagreements, but now more than ever, they find themselves in debates that can be quite acrimonious. Dialogue between opposing standpoints often lacks civility and decency. Finding common ground amongst individuals or groups that disagree is quite challenging when a city manager’s primary goal is to administer, guide policy development and execute at the highest level. A Councilmember I serve often says, “We need to be able to disagree without being disagreeable.” In today’s political climate that is becoming more and more challenging.
When and how do you interact with the residents of your city?
I typically enjoy walking around the community in downtown districts or civic centers. As the primary “public square” that a majority of residents visit, I feel it’s essential to do my best to ingratiate my experiences with what a typical resident experiences. Attending community events, going to local coffee shops and exercising in the community is generally helpful for me to get a sense of how residents are feeling and where the city is performing well or needs improvement.
What is the role of a city manager in upholding the public’s trust in local government?
The city manager establishes the standards for the rest of the organization. Regardless of any internal controls an organization may have, a city manager can’t be everywhere at all times. It takes teamwork, training and regular reminders about how important it is to be ethical and showcase sound decision making at all times. If a city manager sets a high standard for the organization, employees will be reminded, trained and follow suit with their colleagues.