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David Ott retires ‘for real’ as Solana Beach city manager

SOLANA BEACH — David Ott is retiring — again, as the Solana Beach city manager, and this time “it’s for real,” he said. Ott made the announcement at the May 14 meeting, declaring his last day will be Nov. 28.

He said the decision to step down after leading the county’s second smallest city for about eight years is “really conflicting” but “it’s time to turn to the next chapter.”

Ott said he still has a lot to accomplish in the next six months. “Rest assured, I won’t slow down,” he said.

He won’t be able to given the list of things he plans to complete before he retires.

Ott said he would like to secure federal approval for the 50-year beach nourishment project with the Army Corps of Engineers and present a budget to council for the largest street repair and sanitation conveyance system repair and replacement the city has ever done.

He would also like council to consider a plan and funding to bring recycled water down to Coast Highway 101 and the Coastal Rail Trail.

Ott said he would also like to see the city and North County Transit District approve a plan for development of the train station.

Ott, who vowed to make the transition to a new city manager “as seamless as possible,” came to Solana Beach on July 1, 2003, as fire chief and director of public safety. Later that year he was also named fire chief for neighboring Del Mar, a position he held until October 2009.

While still acting as fire chief for both cities, he became deputy city manager for Solana Beach in 2005 and city manager the following year.

In 2010 he announced he would retire at the end of the year but agreed in January 2011 to continue as interim city manager.

In October of that year he returned to the position full time because of the myriad projects the city was working on, including developing the train station parking lot, a proposed affordable housing complex, sand replenishment, the general plan update, adopting a local coastal plan and Highway 101 improvements.

The latter two have been completed, while the other projects are ongoing.

When he returned to work on a permanent basis on Dec. 1, 2011, he agreed to a two-year contract with an option for a one-year extension, which puts his tenure at the end of November.

Ott is subject to reduced retirement benefits adopted by the city in 2010.

When he “retired” the first time he was eligible to receive 2.5 percent of his highest one-year salary at 55. Under the new agreement Ott will receive 2 percent of his highest salary average over three years at age 60.

Mayor Tom Campbell said Ott’s departure is “tough for some of us.”

He said he truly appreciates all the time and effort Ott gave to the city.

Campbell said council will begin the recruitment process and will update the public when advised to do so by the city attorney.

As for how he will spend his time in retirement, Ott said he has “no solid plans at this time.”