Council to vote on new city position

COSTA MESA — Peter Naghavi could take over the city's newly created economic development director position if the City Council approves the move next week.

Using $50,000 already set aside for economic development this year and shifting $70,000 from Ernesto Munoz's old position as senior engineer, Naghavi would be paid $120,000 for the second half of the fiscal year with council approval.

Munoz is the city's interim head of public services, a position Naghavi left to become the interim assistant CEO.

Approving the economic development director position would create a new level of management at City Hall. Naghavi would be able to supervise public services and development services, and coordinate between the two. Both departments play important roles in the city's push for capital improvements, according to the city staff report.

As director, Naghavi would be expected to analyze and react to market and demographic data, and strengthen ties between the city and business community, of which Costa Mesa's financial outlook is closely tied.

Roughly 60% of Costa Mesa's revenue comes from sales tax — a stream of dollars particularly vulnerable to the ebb and flow of the national, state and local economies.

The council is looking to appoint Naghavi to the role in its first meeting next year, on Jan. 3. He would be tasked with developing an economic strategy for Costa Mesa and act as a liaison with the Chamber of Commerce and South Coast Metro Alliance.

City officials have announced that starting in 2012, Rick Francis, Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach's chief of staff, will take over as assistant city CEO.

Munoz will remain as interim head of public services, leaving the senior engineering position vacant.

Twitter: @JosephSerna

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