Yucaipa council announces city manager’s retirement, quickly appoints replacement – San Bernardino Sun

Yucaipa leaders have appointed Chris Mann to replace retiring City Manager Ray Casey, Mayor Justin Beaver confirmed by phone Tuesday, Jan. 10.

Casey, whose Jan. 31 retirement was accepted in closed session Monday by Beaver and Yucaipa City Councilmembers Bobby Duncan and Matt Garner, has served as top administrator in Yucaipa the past 14 years.

Councilmembers Jon Thorp and Chris Venable did not accept Casey’s retirement Monday, according to the closed session report.

Mann’s subsequent appointment behind closed doors was approved by all councilmembers but Thorp.

Thorp did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

In October, Beaver, Duncan and Thorp voted along with their then-council colleagues to extend Casey’s contract through June 30, 2024.

Casey was to see a 3% boost in salary, to $299,420, starting this July.

The contract extension was approved before the Nov. 8 election, when Garner and Venable won the races for open seats in two districts.

In a phone interview Tuesday, longtime Yucaipa resident George Sardeson questioned the timing of Casey’s retirement and process of replacing him.

“Evidently this has been in the works for some time,” he said. “Since the two new councilmembers came on, they didn’t hide the fact they were looking to make changes at City Hall without being specific.”

Even if Casey planned to retire Monday, Sardeson said, “where was the process to vet applicants? Where was the process to even notify this would happen and the city would be taking applicants, or doing interviews, as other municipalities typically do?”

Mann, a Yucaipa resident who presently serves as city manager in Canyon Lake, begins his new gig March 1.

Yucaipa Assistant City Manager Jennifer Crawford will serve as interim city manager in February, a city spokesman said Tuesday.

“Following an election this past November in which the voters of Yucaipa elected two new members to the City Council, the Council is taking decisive action to move Yucaipa forward,” Beaver wrote in a news release Monday evening. “The Council’s first step involved making changes to the City’s executive leadership team.”

At the moment, Mann is president of the Yucaipa Valley Water District, a seat he intends to vacate prior to assuming office as city manager, Beaver wrote in his release.

Beaver touted Mann’s many areas of expertise in his statement and said Mann “has the right relationships to help our City work collaboratively throughout the region for the benefit of Yucaipa residents.”

In addition to appointing Mann as city manager Monday, Yucaipa leaders in closed session unanimously fired City Attorney David Snow.

A second 5-0 vote in closed session installed Steven Graham as city attorney effective immediately.

Sardeson called the entire evening “absolutely disheartening.”

“To me,” he added, “the community deserves better than this from our elected representatives.”

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