Redevelopment Chief Is 2nd Oceanside Official to Resign This Week
After serving only six months as Oceanside’s redevelopment director, Kathy Graham has quit her $61,800-a-year post to become director of housing and redevelopment in adjacent Carlsbad, it was announced Friday.
Although Oceanside officials generally praised Graham’s performance, there were indications she is leaving largely because of strife within the city’s redevelopment agency.
“I think it was an internal affair,” said City Councilman Sam Williamson, observing that Graham didn’t get along with her assistant, Pat Hightman, an agency veteran who had been acting director until Graham was hired in January.
“The assistant director and (her) weren’t hitting if off as well as they thought they should be,” Williamson said. Despite Graham’s brief tenure, Williamson said the development community “felt Kathy was doing an outstanding job.”
Another tribute came from Mayor Larry Bagley, who said, “I was happy with Kathy and what she was doing.”
However, there was a hint that Graham hadn’t impressed the entire council, which directs the redevelopment agency and had hired Graham to bring a fresh perspective to the downtown and coastal redevelopment effort.
“I didn’t see the big changes that were supposed to come about,” said Councilwoman Melba Bishop.
Bishop said “it was an altogether bad situation with her being brought in with Pat being put below her.”
Graham didn’t return a phone call, and Hightman declined to comment.
The redevelopment chief’s departure was announced the same week as Oceanside City Manager Ron Bradley revealed he will leave his $101,000-a-year job Sept. 28 to work for the nationwide accounting firm of Ernst & Young in Irvine.
He has been city manager for two years.