Goleta City Manager Dan Singer will be stepping down from his position to take the same job with the City of Poway in San Diego County, ending his nearly nine-year tenure with Goleta in early May and starting his new job on June 2. The City of Poway announced Singer’s imminent hiring; his contract is set for formal approval at the Poway City Council meeting on Tuesday.
Singer said it was “going to be bittersweet” to leave the Goleta. “I think that I’m leaving the city in really good hands,” he said. Singer went on, saying he is “so proud” of the city’s fiscal health, met goals, and strong staff. He said that he and his wife, who have lived in Ojai for 22 years and have two grown sons, are “ready to start a new chapter.” Singer added that he is looking forward to working in a larger city (Poway has nearly 50,000 residents while Goleta is home to about 30,000) with a bigger budget (Goleta’s hovers around $20 million while Poway’s is more than $70 million) and more employees.
According to a statement posted on the City of Poway’s website on Wednesday, Singer beat out 64 other applicants for the position. “Dan was the council’s unanimous choice,” said Poway Mayor Don Higginson. “He is a veteran city manager who is highly qualified and will be a wonderful addition to city staff and the Poway community.”
Singer’s new salary will be $219,950, up from the $202,284 that he was awarded in his most recent contract with the City of Goleta. Singer’s tenure with the city — which began in September 2005, after he had served as the city manager of Ojai — attracted attention last fall when closed-session city council meetings regarding his annual performance evaluation also listed an item related to the “discipline/dismissal/release” of a public employee. His contract was ultimately renewed for one year in November.
“Dan has worked for us almost nine years,” said Mayor Michael Bennett. “He’s left us as one of the safest cities in California, we have stable finances, and we have a great staff.” Bennett noted that Singer has held the position of city manager for the young city longer than anyone and that he is “optimistic we’ll find someone who will move us further ahead as Dan did when he came on.” City Attorney Tim Giles said the city is in a “holding pattern” until Poway officially approves Singer’s contract but that in Tuesday’s meeting’s closed-session, councilmembers will discuss how to go about finding Singer’s replacement. Giles said a professional recruiting firm will likely be used.
Singer’s departure adds to the city’s shifting pieces. Tina Rivera, the city’s finance director, announced last month that her last day will be April 18, as she will be taking a position with the United Water Conservation District in Santa Paula. Former Public Works director Steve Wagner left the city in March to become the assistant general manager of the Goleta Sanitary District. Giles said that the city is looking into the recruitment process to find their permanent replacements. And Councilmember Ed Easton is likely to resign from the council, as he is in escrow on a house outside the city limits; the council will discuss potential replacement options — including an appointment and a special election — at their meeting on Tuesday.