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.