Rolling Hills : Acting City Manager to Assume Post July 1

Tom Devereux, former city manager of neighboring Palos Verdes Estates, will become acting city manager in Rolling Hills.

Devereux, 40, will begin heading a three-member staff July 1. Under his contract, he will be paid $3,500 a month. He begins a two-week orientation period today.

Devereux, a Lakewood resident, assumes the responsibilities of Joseph P. Leach, who died May 31 at Little Company of Mary Hospital in Torrance from problems relating to vascular disease. Leach was city manager for eight months and was the city's fourth manager in four years.

Devereux resigned Feb. 28 after 4 1/2 years as city manager of Palos Verdes Estates and has been seeking other employment since, he said. He declined to explain his resignation. "I'd just as soon not get into that," he said. "The past is past. I don't want to open old wounds."

Devereux emerged as the principal candidate for the Rolling Hills job because of "his familiarity with the Peninsula and the surrounding cities," said Councilwoman Jody Murdock. "We felt he could step in better than anyone else could on an acting basis."

The City Council had authorized a personnel committee composed of Murdock and Mayor Pro Tem Godfrey Pernell to select an acting manager. The terms of Devereux's contract will be ratified at the next City Council meeting June 24, Murdock said.

Devereux has agreed to serve a minimum of three months, Murdock said, and will assist the city in finding a permanent manager. Devereux said he will not seek the permanent position because it would not be "a good career move for me. It's a small community in terms of the services they provide."

The private, gated community of 2,076 residents does not have the resources for major new projects, he said. "Rolling Hills is limited. It's a fine community, a beautiful community, but it just does not pose a challenge to me personally."

Devereux served as assistant city manager for Tulare for three years before working for Palos Verdes Estates. Before that he was city manager of Eloy, Ariz.

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