Just two months after he began work, Santa Clarita's planning director announced that he will leave the city in April to become city manager of Beverly Hills.
Mark Scott, who was Beverly Hills' director of environmental services before joining the Santa Clarita staff Jan. 2, said he had not planned to leave his new post so quickly.
But the Beverly Hills offer, he said Thursday, "is such an opportunity. I wouldn't have left for any other job."
Scott, 40, will succeed Beverly Hills City Manager Edward S. Kreins, who announced his retirement in January shortly after a money dispute with a contractor stalled construction of the Beverly Hills' Civic Center project.
Scott was Kreins' executive assistant when Scott joined the Beverly Hills staff in 1983.
Scott, who will make about $115,000 a year in the Beverly Hills job, is scheduled to begin work April 2. The Santa Clarita job paid between $75,000 and $80,000.
"We're very surprised and saddened to see him go because Mark is a very excellent worker and person," said Gail Foy, a Santa Clarita spokeswoman.
Scott told Santa Clarita officials Wednesday of his decision to leave.
"We're still reeling a bit," Assistant City Manager Ken Pulskamp said. But Pulskamp said city officials recognize that the vacancy at Beverly Hills City Hall presented Scott a unique opportunity.
Scott's departure will not slow the preparation of Santa Clarita's general plan, the broad blueprint for development that city planners hope to complete by June, Pulskamp said.
Foy said the city would begin searching for Scott's successor as soon as possible.
Scott was selected from more than 75 candidates after a six-month search to replace Kyle Kollar, who resigned July 28 to join Kaufman and Broad, a housing construction firm.