Del Mar city manager placed on administrative leave


Del Mar City Manager Christa L. Johnson has been placed on administrative leave with pay, the city announced Feb. 5.

Christa L. Johnson
(Courtesy of the City of Del Mar)

No further details were immediately available, but the announcement follows two closed session performance evaluations that the council held for Johnson on Feb. 1 and Feb. 3. The decision is also pending the next council meeting on Feb. 16.

Administrative Services Director Ashley Jones will serve as acting city manager.

Johnson was hired as city manager one year ago to replace Scott Huth, who retired. She was previously the assistant city manager in Laguna Beach for about eight years.

Del Mar Mayor Terry Gaasterland said the COVID-19 pandemic factored into the circumstances involved in the decision.

“I think COVID has affected so many people in so many ways, and sometimes people need some time and some space,” she said, adding that she believes “we wouldn’t be where we are now had we not had the pandemic.”

Asked what exactly that meant, she said “I don’t want to say yet, but I’ll be really happy to say after Feb. 16.”

Johnson did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Deputy Mayor Dwight Worden and City Councilman Dave Druker declined comment.