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Newport Beach may name new city manager Tuesday

Newport Beach may name new city manager Tuesday
Newport Beach City Manager Dave Kiff is leaving Aug. 31. The City Council may name his replacement at its meeting Tuesday. (File Photo)

The Newport Beach City Council may reveal its top pick for the next city manager at its meeting Tuesday.

The city has declined to identify candidates as the recruitment process has advanced, citing confidentiality of personnel matters.

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Similarly, “due to ongoing negotiations regarding the employment agreement,” the council’s top pick won’t be named until Tuesday, according to a staff report.

According to a hiring resolution with “new city manager’s name” in place of an actual name throughout, the position will pay an annual base salary of $265,000, with employment to begin Sept. 4, the day after Labor Day.

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A contract, with a blank spot where the new manager’s name would be, states the first employment term will be for two years with an automatic one-year extension, unless the city decides otherwise. Fringe benefits include a $500-a-month car allowance and a maximum of 400 hours of flex leave accrued at about nine hours per pay period.

Current City Manager Dave Kiff, who has been Newport’s top appointed official since 2009 and a city employee for 20 years, plans to leave Aug. 31.

Assistant City Manager Carol Jacobs will fill in as acting city manager Sept. 1-3.

The council interviewed seven semifinalists from a pool of 72 applicants in closed-door meetings in July and advanced three finalists for another round of private interviews originally scheduled for Aug. 13. However, the city bumped up that round to July 30 amid concerns about candidate names and qualifications being leaked.

The city’s contract with its executive recruiting firm contains a confidentiality clause about such matters.

Since even before the hiring process officially began in May, the community has been rife with speculation about who the next city manager will be — including specific rumors that the council was considering Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson and Dana Point City Manager Mark Denny.

Though the city never mentioned Nelson by name, it implied the termed-out supervisor was one of the final three candidates and suggested he was no longer in the running, cutting the short list to two.

Scooters and Newport Heights traffic

The council Tuesday also will discuss how to address “commercial shared mobility activities,” which include dockless rental electric scooters like the Bird scooters that had a brief, unpermitted run on the Balboa Peninsula about two weeks ago.

The council could direct staff to create regulations to allow rental scooter and bike businesses. Or it could ban them.

Bird deployed a fleet of its scooters in Newport on July 28, but the city said it did so without notice or permits and ordered the company to remove all its scooters by July 31.

The council also will review the results of a Newport Heights neighborhood traffic study, which the city launched last year after Newport Heights Elementary School student Brock McCann was struck and killed by a trash truck in 2016 while riding his bike home after school. The study specifically analyzed traffic around Newport Heights Elementary, Ensign Intermediate and Newport Harbor High schools, all of which are within a 1-mile radius and have about 4,300 students among them.

Tuesday’s council meeting starts at 3:45 p.m. with a study session, followed by the regular session at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 100 Civic Center Drive.

Both the scooter and Newport Heights traffic items are on the study session and regular session agendas.

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