First task will be tackling budget, his strong suit
By Jim Shilander
Pall Gudgeirsson, who was first hired by the city as assistant city manager for administrative services in 1992, becomes San Clemente’s seventh city manager since 1964 Thursday. His predecessor, George Scarborough, retired Wednesday.
Gudgeirsson has held the title of city treasurer since 1994, and was elected to the position in 1996.
Scarborough said last week that Gudgeirsson has been taking on more responsibility at meetings in the last year to help transition into the role.
“Often when you leave, you have a great deal of concern about the next guy screwing up,” Scarborough said. “I feel much better than I’ve ever felt that’s not going to happen. I know Pall and I know that’s not going to happen.”
Gudgeirsson said he had met individually with city department heads to help set up the upcoming budget, which makes for an easier transition, since his first major duties as city manager dovetail with what he’d done for so long.
Gudgeirsson said the city received more than 100 applications for the now vacant assistant city manager position. Interviews for the position will be conducted on April 10. Gudgeirsson said recent hires have helped to secure the financial side for the city, and he wanted more of a “generalist,” in the new hire.
On March 26, Gudgeirsson’s first city council meeting as city manager will focus on the city’s finances. It will be held at the city offices at 910 Calle Negocio, as opposed to city hall.
Gudgeirsson said the city must prepare to tackle a number of issues in budget planning.
“I think the biggest challenge overall is identifying financial resources for proposed capital projects in the city’s general fund,” he noted. “Contract costs for public safety are also increasing which will impact our general fund finances. Additionally, the city will have to prepare for absorbing full maintenance and operation costs for the Aquatic Center and Sports Park.”
That was balanced, he noted, with expected revenues from Marblehead Coastal, which the city expects to start seeing in 2016.
The city will also have to look at changes to its insurance policies, he said.
“We belong to an insurance pool and, based on our claim history for the past few years, we are obligated to pay an additional $3 million to the pool plus our insurance premiums will increase substantially.”