Solana Beach hires firm to help search for new city manager

By Kristina Houck

A little more than a month after City Manager David Ott announced his plans to retire in November, Solana Beach hired a firm to recruit his replacement.

The City Council on June 25 awarded a $25,000 contract to Peckham & McKenney to conduct a search for a new city manager. The 5-0 vote was part of the council’s consent calendar, a list of items approved with a single vote and no discussion.

“We’re embarking on replacing the irreplaceable Mr. Ott,” said Deputy Mayor Lesa Heebner. “We’ll do our best.”

Recruiter Bobbi Peckham of the firm will lead the search. With nearly 30 years of experience in local government and executive recruitment, Peckham helped bring City Manager Gus Vina to Encinitas in 2011, and City Manager Steven Sarkozy to Carlsbad just a few months ago.

During the May 14 council meeting, Ott announced his last day with the city would be Nov. 28. He informed council members about his decision to retire during a closed session prior to the meeting.

Since then, the city received three proposals from recruitment firms. The $25,000 contract with Peckham & McKenney consists of an $18,000 fee and up to $7,000 in expenses.