Although David Ott officially retired as Solana Beach city manager last month, he has agreed to lead the city again until his shoes are filled.
“We need somebody to run the city, and we need somebody now,” said Mayor Lesa Heebner before the council’s unanimous appointment of Ott as interim city manager at the Dec. 17 special meeting. “We have many significant projects, as well as the everyday running of the city.”
Ott provided more than a decade of service to the city, and the council, staff and community members bid farewell to him at the Nov. 19 council meeting. Although Deputy City Manager Wendé Protzman stepped in to serve in the meantime, one of the city’s top planners has also since resigned, Heebner explained.
Therefore, during a closed session Dec. 10, the council directed City Attorney Johanna Canlas to ask Ott whether he would consider serving as interim city manager until a new city manager is hired. Ott “graciously accepted.”
“We know Mr. Ott is a man of his word,” Heebner said. “He told the council that he would not leave us in the lurch, that he wouldn’t abandon us if we couldn’t come to an agreement on another city manager, so he’s keeping to his word. I know he truly cares about this community.”
As a retired government employee, the terms of Ott’s return are dictated by the state. His start date is Dec. 18 through no later than June 30, 2015, as he can work only 960 hours in a fiscal year.
Ott will earn $92.91 per hour, an amount based on his previous salary. And he will receive no benefits.
In a 5-0 vote, the council also approved a $23,750 contract with Ralph Andersen & Associates to help recruit a new city manager. The consulting firm helped recruit Carlsbad City Manager Steven Sarkozy earlier this year.
In June, the council awarded a $25,000 contract to Peckham & McKenney to conduct the search for a new city manager. Although council members interviewed several candidates in the fall, they were not able to reach a consensus.