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Headhunter firm hired to assist in search for new city manager

By BARBARA DIAMOND

Retiring City Manager John Pietig announced on Saturday that the City Council in closed session had decided to hire an executive recruitment firm to assist in the selection of his successor.

The announcement to hire Bob Murray & Associates to conduct a comprehensive search as part of the process of hiring a new city manager was made at the beginning of a special City Council meeting. 

“This is one of the most important positions in the city and hiring a recruitment firm will allow us to thoroughly evaluate both internal and external candidates for the city manager position,” said Mayor Bob Whalen. 

“We had an excellent experience with this recruiting firm in our recent search for a new general manager for the water district and the council is confident that this will be a well-run and comprehensive search.

“We are hopeful of making a final selection in May.”

Headhunter firm Pietig

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Courtesy of City of LB

City Manager John Pietig will be retiring in June

Pietig said two Zoom meetings will be held to gather community input and a survey will be conducted as part of the recruitment process. 

Bob Murray & Associates has been involved in executive searches for more than 20 years and has completed more than 60 successful city manager recruitments in California in the past five years, according to the press release issued Saturday afternoon. 

The city will pay $26,000 for the company’s services, Pietig said.

Councilmember Peter Blake voted against the decision to hire a recruitment firm because he thinks the best candidate already works for the city. 

“I wouldn’t be surprised if the company recommends Shohreh Dupuis as the best candidate for the job of Laguna Beach City Manager,” said Blake on Sunday. “We have had five years to get to know her strengths. 

“I don’t believe she will stay as assistant city manager under a new city manager. Many other communities would love to have her as a city manager. 

“The search won’t be concluded until May. John is leaving in June.”

Blake said the city could be faced with a new city manager and a new assistant city manager with just one month to get a handle on the difficult job of running the city.