The Coast News Group

Encinitas City Council narrows city manager field to one

ENCINITAS — It appears that the Encinitas City Council has found its next city manager.

The City Council emerged from a closed session meeting Wednesday afternoon and announced that the body had unanimously selected one candidate to move forward in the process, pending contract negotiations.

The council hasn’t released the name of the candidate, citing the same contract negotiations.

Encinitas has been looking to hire a permanent city manager since Gus Vina resigned in January to take the same position in the Northern California city of Brentwood. Former public works director and current Olivenhain Municipal Water District board member Larry Watt is currently serving as interim city manager.

Wednesday’s announcement is the penultimate step in a four-month-long process that started when the city hired Avery Associates to spearhead the recruitment. The Bay Area-based firm last month presented the council with seven finalists for the position. After preliminary interviews, the council narrowed the field to three finalists, which then interviewed with the council over the past two weeks.

For Encinitas, the new hire will become the fourth manager the city has had in less than four years — Watt, Vina and former City Manager Phil Cotton, whom Vina replaced in 2011.