The Coast News Group

Search continues for Oceanside city manager

OCEANSIDE — The search is still on for an Oceanside city manager after the Aug. 5 closed-session meeting concluded without a hire.

“We didn’t make a decision, we’re still in limbo,” Councilman Jack Feller said following the meeting.

“It’s disappointing we didn’t make a decision,” Feller said. “We have lot of interim directors that need to be hired.”

The city began its search in February following the resignation of former City Manager Steve Jepsen, who served from October 2013 to February, and formerly served from 2000 to 2006.

Speculations swirl on the final handful of candidates under consideration, and whether a second nationwide search will be launched.

Some say applicants are from outside the county and state, and in-house staff would be approached to take the job due to the immediate need to hire several department directors.

Others say there may be news of a hire before the next City Council meeting on Aug. 19, although this has been disputed.

It is confirmed a nationwide search was conducted that brought more than 40 candidates to consider. City Council reviewed resumes in May, and brought back less than a dozen top applicants to interview in June.

City Council members are clear on what they’re looking for in a city manager. Understanding of the city, and ability to work well with all council members are top qualifiers.

“A manager who is a visionary, and has outside-the-box thinking,” Feller said.

Several council members said it’s been challenging finding the right match for the city.

“We’re still in a looking mode — inside and out,” Mayor Jim Wood said.

Councilman Jerry Kern said it was unfortunate that City Council took a month off during the search.

Some speculate one of the final candidates took a position with another city during city council’s recess.

There is no confirmation if a job offer will be made this week.

Assistant City Manager Michelle Lawrence is serving as interim city manager during the search.