ESCONDIDO — Escondido City Manager Jeffrey Epp will officially retire on July 11 after 35 years of serving Escondido’s city government, but he will stay on temporarily to help the city transition to a new city manager.
Epp has served as both city manager and city attorney of Escondido and is eligible for retirement this summer. However, Epp has agreed to stay on as a retired annuitant, citing unprecedented times due to an ongoing pandemic and recent increased social unrest in the community.
“With COVID-19 still being a big problem nationwide, as well as the recent protests, it seemed wise to wait,” Epp said. “I just want stability for the city, and I want to do what I can to help create a smooth transition.”
The City Council unanimously approved the decision at its June 24 meeting, agreeing that Epp’s temporary position will go into effect on July 12.
Epp said that the search for a new city manager will be conducted in a national open search with the help of a recruitment firm. Council will then interview top candidates and make the ultimate appointment.
The recruitment process is expected to take at least a few months, but Epp assured the council that getting the process started will be one of his first orders of business.
Under state law, retirees typically have to wait 180 days before they can work as a retired annuitant but can do so under certain circumstances and with a unanimous vote from the council.
“Thank you for your service all of these years,” Councilwoman Olga Diaz said to Epp during the meeting. “I know there have been ups and downs, and I appreciate that you’re willing to stick around.”
The temporary position will pay the same rate as Epp’s current salary, but won’t include benefits such as health insurance, vacation leave or sick leave.
Epp told The Coast News that he’s looking forward to really being able to reflect on his years serving the city of Escondido once the time comes for him to fully leave his position, but until then, he is focused on helping the city transition into capable hands.
“It’s very bittersweet,” Epp said. “Although I look forward to doing something different and hopefully something exciting, the years I’ve spent serving the city have been outstanding and extremely fulfilling, and we’ve done a lot of cool things during my time here.”