LAKE FOREST : City Manager Chosen From Close to Home

After going through more than 100 applications from across the country, the City Council found a new city manager in Orange County.

On Tuesday, the council named Robert C. Dunek, now the city manager of Los Alamitos, as the city's new chief executive.

At the end of a nine-month search, the council looked closely at two candidates, Dunek and a city official from Northern California.

The council leaned toward Dunek because "he's already knowledgeable with Orange County," Councilwoman Ann Van Haun said. "We felt with the issues facing the city, we should have a city manager who knows Orange County."

Dunek has been city manager in Los Alamitos since 1989. He has also worked for Garden Grove and was executive director of the Orange County division of the California League of Cities for five years.

"One of my strengths that I'll bring to the job is that I'll be able to hit the bricks running," Dunek said. "I've worked in Orange County all of my professional career."

Dunek will be the second city manager in Lake Forest's six-year history, following Gaylord Knapp, who resigned in April.

Dunek will make $105,000 annually with a total benefits package of $116,000.

Dunek will start work sometime in mid-January, although he may initially split time between Lake Forest and Los Alamitos.

"One of Los Alamitos' charms is that people care for each other very much and are able to provide a hometown atmosphere in a metropolitan area," he said. "I'll miss it very much, but I'm looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead in Lake Forest."

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