Menifee City Council Retains Rob Johnson as City Manager

The Menifee City Council Tuesday gave a vote of confidence to Rob Johnson, voting 5-0 to extend his ...

The Menifee City Council Tuesday gave a vote of confidence to Rob Johnson, voting 5-0 to extend his appointment as interim manager for the forseeable future.

Johnson, previously serving as a senior manager of community improvement and outreach, was named interim city manager after Bill Rawlings left the position following a change in the council makeup in the November election. Mayor Scott Mann said the announcement was made Tuesday night to show the council's satisfaction with Johnson's performance so far.

"We wanted the public to know how much confidence we have in Rob Johnson," said Mann, who praised Johnson for his role in improving staff morale, transparency in his job and in helping to change the culture at City Hall.

Since Mann and Greg August replaced Darcy Kuenzi and Sue Kristjansson on the city council, three top city officials -- Rawlings, city attorney Joseph Fletcher and city engineer Don Allison -- resigned. Johnson appears to have provided a steadying influence in a political climate that has been rocky at times.

Since his appointment last fall, Johnson has been proactive in many ways, giving detailed reports to the council on city activities and making himself visible at many public events. He has no prior experience as a city manager, however -- something council members consider a priority.

Johnson may get some of that experience with help from an experienced former city manager.

The council Tuesday night announced plans to draft a consultant contract for Shawn Nelson, who retired in 2011 as city manager of Temecula. If his contract is approved by council members, Nelson would report directly to the council and provide valuable assistance to Johnson.


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  1. There seems to be a pattern forming here.
    First an ad hoc committee was formed to find a qualified city manager instead of using a professional search firm.
    Then an interim city manager with no prior experience is appointed to an indefinite term.
    Now a consultant is hired that reports directly to the council to provide direction to the city manager? Is there a ploy in the works to circumvent the mandated role of the council in the day to day operation of city business?
    At least one member of the council has publicly voiced the opinion that a city manager should be eliminated and the role filled by a full time Mayor.
    Hiring this consultant is certainly not a cost saving effort in lieu of engaging a professional search firm to find an experienced manager. So what is the purpose?

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  2. This action takes place all too soon on the heels of a meeting in Sacramento attended by all of the participants supporting this move. It surely gives the impression it may have been discussed outside public purview.

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  3. Getting Shawn Nelson to sign on as a consultant will be great for Menifee. He helped build Temecula into the great city it has become today. Without question Temecula has weathered our downturn in the economy quite well. His knowledge in helping to build Menifee into a successful community will be very useful to our city leaders. I believe he is someone whom we can trust. He is a man of great integrity. I believe he will be a great addition to our local government.

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    1. While he may be a very qualified,honest individual,how is this a better choice than finding a full time city manager with as good or better qualifications? He will be reporting to the council in an effort to micro-manage the appointee.Would a highly qualified professional city manager accept a contract without a non-interference clause?

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    2. Do you know that to be true? Or is that your opinion.It seems to me that he will be assisting Rob. With all of Shawn's experience running Temecula successfully. How could that possibly be a bad thing. Time will tell how this works out. The council has faith in Rob. One can only hope that they are correct in their decision.

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    3. I express no opinion about the experience or track record of Shawn Nelson.
      If you review the video tape of the last council meeting both Edgerton and Denver state that he will report directly to the council. Why does the council need a consultant to advise them on what the city manager should be doing? It would make more sense to hire someone of his caliber or equal as the city manager. How far and wide did this “search” committee look for qualified candidates?
      There are some pitfalls with the process they used. There’s a chance of cronyism, because the council could appoint a friend of the council, one they could manipulate, and worse, one they could be sure of in certain decisions.

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    4. Apparently you just don't understand this. The past 4 or five city managers have done whatever they wanted, hence, they are no longer employed here. What this city needs is a city manager who has to answer to not only city council but the people of Menifee. So regardless if Shawn Nelson has to answer to this council or Johnson will have to follow councils guidance, that's how it's going to be here.
      Please put to rest all of your conspiracies theories, this is how a city should be run. You've obviously been mislead by previous failed councils and city managers.

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    5. I think you are the one who doesn’t get it. You now have an acting city manager,
      without any prior experience, who was recommended by a search committee of two appointed by the Mayor. How much searching did they do in the short time since they were appointed? The City Manager appointee will function without a formal contract, hence no buyout or criteria for dismissal. The Mayor stated there would be no further search in the foreseeable future, but the selection committee would remain intact. What does this suggest to you?
      Your observation of why previous city managers have left is naive at best.
      You now have a city attorney who was appointed without any public solicitation, nominated by someone who received campaign contributions from her spouse.
      The Mayor has also stated there are no plans in the near future to solicit bids for this position.
      These are not theories and this is not how a city should be run

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  4. We need a full time City Manager, with experience.
    The council is out of its mind, thinking that they have the best of both worlds.
    Rob does not have the experience of City Manager!
    This can be very costly for us paying for two people.
    Who is going to take the blame when something goes wrong? Rob, or Shawn Nelson as a consultant, according to Councilman John Denver?
    We have spent money looking for our City Manager, with experience, is this the best we can do?
    Let Rob do what he was hired to do. Wearing two (2) hats is too much for him.
    Why not go through the interviewing for a new city manager, that has the experience that the city needs?
    We need to keep looking to fill this position as intended.

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  5. There is an old adage in political circles: "People will believe anything if you put the right spin on it". Is this what we have going on here?

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  6. If the elected officials have confidence in Rob Johnson, then why not give him the chance to prove himself. He has obviously shown that he is capable of what it takes to be a City Manager otherwise he wouldn't be where he is today. I was a city employee for 30 years and have seen the ugliness and deception of local politics. I know Rob and he is a man of integrity and will do right by the City of Menifee. You should be lucky he is on your side!

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