ENCINITAS — As the city grapples with the coronavirus pandemic, residents and local officials find themselves confronted with a different challenge — finding a new city manager.
Earlier this morning, City Manager Karen Brust submitted her letter of resignation effective June 12, according to an internal city email received by The Coast News.
Brust, who was first hired to the position in 2015, was named the Director of Emergency Services after the Encinitas City Council issued a Proclamation of Local Emergency on March 16, activating its Emergency Operations Center in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the director of emergency services, Brust is responsible for addressing the impacts and conditions caused by COVID-19, in addition to obtaining assistance from local, county, state and federal agencies.
Assistant City Manager Mark Delin will serve as interim director until Brust’s replacement is chosen.
“Karen has been a fantastic city manager for nearly five years,” said Mayor Catherine Blakespear. “She’ll be sorely missed. We wish her many happy years in retirement.”
It remains unclear if there are currently any candidates to permanently fill the vacancy left by Brust, who served as city manager for the cities of Del Mar and San Juan Capistrano.
Over the next 60 days, Brust will be “preparing a transition plan to ensure that the City Council’s vision and continuity of operations continue to move forward with minimal interruption,” according to the email.
“My respect and appreciation deepen as I witness the exemplary customer service that all of you are providing to our residents and businesses,” Brust wrote. “Weathering through these uncertain times has been difficult due to the physical and emotional constraints placed upon us in business and in our personal lives. Yet, I watch in awe how everyone is seamlessly working together; supporting each other; and acting responsibly in the face of all the demands that have been placed upon us.”
Shortly before Brust came to work for Encinitas, Larry Watt, who served on the Olivenhain Municipal Water District board, was named interim city manager after former City Manager Gus Vina announced his resignation. Brust was eventually hired to replace Watt in 2015.
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