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Huntington Beach looks to Monrovia for possible city manager

Monrovia City Manager Oliver Chi may serve as Huntington Beach's new top administrator. The City Council will vote Monday on whether to hire him to a four-year contract.
Monrovia City Manager Oliver Chi may serve as Huntington Beach’s new top administrator. The City Council will vote Monday on whether to hire him to a four-year contract.
(Courtesy of Oliver Chi)

Monrovia City Manager Oliver Chi may serve as Huntington Beach’s new top administrator.

The Huntington Beach City Council is expected to vote Monday on whether to hire Chi to a four-year contract with a starting salary of $260,000 per year.

Instead of mileage reimbursement, the city would provide Chi with a vehicle allowance of $450 per month for city business.

Because he plans to move to Huntington Beach with his family in coming weeks, he also is eligible for temporary rental expenses of up to $3,500 per month for up to six months, according to the city.

“I am humbled, excited and grateful for the opportunity to join a city as dynamic and iconic as Huntington Beach,” Chi said in a statement Friday. “Surf City is simply premier in every way, and I am looking forward to partnering with the mayor, City Council and staff as we work together to help build community and enhance the local quality of life.”

Chi was selected as the top contender from among 90 candidates. He is slated to take the post by Sept. 30, according to the city.

Mayor Erik Peterson said in a statement that Chi “performed very well in a competitive recruitment, showing how well he knows the public administration field as well as the spirit of innovation he brings to his work.”

Chi has been Monrovia’s city manager since 2014 and spearheaded the creation of GoMonrovia, a public-private partnership with Lyft as the city’s transportation service provider. He also has helped the city address homelessness, rising pension costs and pressures that come with development.

He has two decades of public service, including as Barstow’s assistant city manager for nearly four years.

Chi earned his undergraduate degree in political science from UCLA and a master’s in public affairs from USC.

Dave Kiff, former city manager of Newport Beach, took over as Huntington Beach’s temporary city manager in May as the city conducted a nationwide effort to appoint a long-term leader by fall. Kiff earns $128.29 per hour, with no city-provided benefits.

Kiff was tapped after Lori Ann Farrell Harrison — now Costa Mesa’s city manager — temporarily filled the role in Huntington Beach following the departure of former top administrator Fred Wilson.

Allied Arts Board

In other business Monday, the council may finalize the dissolution of the city’s Allied Arts Board in light of its pending public art master plan.

The nine-member advisory panel was established in 1979 to help promote local art and cultural activities. City officials say it appears the panel has fulfilled its goal, as several other groups, such as the Huntington Beach Art League and the Huntington Beach Art Center’s Artist Council, have the same mission.

The council anticipates reviewing a draft art master plan — which would outline procedures for management, funding, public engagement and site selection — in the next six months.

Monday’s meeting begins at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 2000 Main St.

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