Fountain Valley selects ‘homegrown’ Maggie Le as city manager
When Maggie Le returned to her hometown as an assistant to the city manager in December 2015, she felt it could be her “final destination” as a professional.
The Fountain Valley City Council unanimously voted to appoint Le to the position of city manager on Tuesday night, a promotion for the internal candidate who had most recently been serving as deputy city manager.
“I am very fortunate to be able to serve the Fountain Valley community,” Le said in a phone interview Wednesday. “I appreciate the ongoing support from the community, and I look forward to many more years [in] the city manager capacity to identify solutions and move the organization and the community forward.”
Le will begin working in her new role on Saturday. Raul Godinez II had been serving as the interim city manager since the departure of Rob Houston, who took a job as the city manager in Orange.
Bob Hall and Associates conducted a nationwide recruitment effort to fill the job opening, producing 36 candidates. City officials say the field was made up mostly of individuals already in city manager or assistant city manager positions.
Le was selected by the council after three rounds of interviews. She will be paid a base salary of $245,000.
During her prior experience with the city, Le observed how Houston would connect with residents by coming to them to discuss their concerns in an environment they found more comfortable than a visit to City Hall. Le said she, too, felt that personal touch was important, and she has helped publish a digital city newsletter with the intent of informing and engaging the community.
Le has ties to Fountain Valley that go back much further than her time as a member of city staff. A 1996 graduate of Los Amigos High School, Le now has two kids who attend school in Fountain Valley.
If home is where the heart is, a desire to be a public servant was also a priority for Le, who discovered her passion through volunteering in high school. A simple “thank you” makes her public service worthwhile.
“Just those two words, it’s so rewarding, and so I wanted to serve,” Le said. “I know it’s a challenge, but I’m a big believer where there is a will, there is a way. I enjoy challenges, and so as long as I make a positive impact in my position, in my community, I would do whatever it takes to get the job done.”
The community has gone through some changes since she grew up, something Le referred to as a natural transition.
“The change, for the most part, it has to be market driven, and we are seeing that in our community,” Le said. “We are seeing developers who express interest in opportunity in Fountain Valley, and I think for our long-term residents — it’s human nature that we don’t like change, right, but I think there’s opportunity to be responsible with the change.
“Our elected officials are listening to our community’s concern, and I think where there’s opportunity to compromise, they’re willing to do what is needed to ensure that our residents are happy, and that at the same time, services are being provided to them.”
Prior to working for Fountain Valley, Le held management roles in Brea, Placentia and Chino. She graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a bachelor’s degree in international business and marketing, and she holds a master’s degree in public administration with an emphasis in finance from CSU Fullerton.
“Ms. Le is a known quantity who has been effectively serving our community for years, rising to the position of deputy city manager,” Mayor Patrick Harper said in a statement announcing Le’s appointment following the vote. “She has roots in Fountain Valley, having graduated from Los Amigos High School, and has worked hard to help the city prosper over the last seven years.
“It is clear she has a grasp on the council’s priorities and is prepared and committed to help us deliver on our ideas and priorities for the Fountain Valley community.”
Councilman Michael Vo said the recent city manager search marked the third he has participated in during his three terms on the dais.
“These have been the most challenging and important decisions,” Vo said. “Ms. Le understands the challenges and growth opportunities for the city. She is Fountain Valley’s homegrown city manager and will propel our community forward with economic development and quality of life improvements.”
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