Council in Ojai Promotes Director of Public Works to Post of City Manager

Rejecting the idea of a job search for a new city manager, the Ojai City Council on Tuesday promoted Public Works Director Andrew Belknap into the position that Geoffrey Grote will vacate Jan. 27.

Belknap, who also serves as assistant city manager, was named to the city manager’s post because of his “outstanding performance” over the last 2 years and because his knowledge of existing programs will make the transition smoother, said Grote, who has resigned for personal reasons.

Belknap, who will receive about $60,000 a year, including a car allowance, will run the day-to-day administrative affairs of Ojai. He said he wants to streamline budget procedures, restore the downtown arcade facade and develop a long-term vision for Ojai with the City Council.

A former public works management analyst for the city of Oxnard, Belknap holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics from UC Santa Barbara.


Grote praised the council’s decision to promote a staff member because “it makes for a much smoother transition and it makes a great of sense organizationally.”

Ojai employs about 25 city staff members, Belknap said, which prompted the decision to appoint from within. “They want to maintain some continuity in the things we are working on here. In a small city like Ojai, when you have a vacancy, it really has a dramatic effect on the work output.”