By Shawn Raymundo
James Makshanoff, San Clemente’s current city manager, tendered his resignation with the city council on Tuesday, Dec. 17, and is scheduled to step down from his post next month, when he takes on the chief executive position for the city of Pomona.
“This was not an easy decision for me, and I am grateful to San Clemente for the opportunity given me in September of 2014,” Makshanoff wrote in his resignation letter that Mayor Dan Bane read aloud at the council’s Dec. 17 meeting.
“I thank you for entrusting with me the position of City Manager for San Clemente,” Makshanoff wrote. “San Clemente is an outstanding community with great residents and unequaled staff that are dedicated to making San Clemente a great city.”
Though Bane said he was surprised by Makshanoff’s initial announcement to the council late last week, he was quick to sing the city manager’s praises, noting that he’s been instrumental in helping the city tackle its issues.
“James has been here for several years, and he’s been sort of a keystone in a lot of the issues we’re facing in terms of strategy and all that. So I was disappointed to learn that he’s leaving,” Bane told San Clemente Times prior to Tuesday’s meeting. “But, obviously, we wish James the best of luck with what he’s doing out in Pomona, and I know that they’ll be in good hands.”
The Pomona City Council on Monday, Dec. 16, hired Makshanoff, approving a two-year contract with an annual salary of $275,000, according to the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.
Makshanoff, who was one of 30 applicants who vied for the position, will replace Pomona’s outgoing City Manager Linda Lowry. The publication reported that Lowry’s last day is set for Dec. 31, while Makshanoff is scheduled to begin on Jan. 21.
With Makshanoff departing, Bane had said his focus would be on finding a replacement.
During the San Clemente City Council’s meeting Tuesday, Bane agendized an item for the council to deliberate the process in which to find a new city manager.
After a closed-session discussion near the end of Tuesday night’s meeting, the council came back to the dais, with City Attorney Scott Smith explaining that action was taken to give Bane the authority in contracting a recruiter on the city’s behalf.
“(Bane will) take the next steps to solicit and approve a recruitment firm, and the process will move from there,” Smith said, concluding the council’s meeting.
Referring to the role as the city’s quarterback, wherein he or she is tasked with executing the council’s strategies, Bane noted to SC Times that it’s important the city find someone who can hit the ground running while being familiar with the issues of coastal cities and South Orange County.
“Any time you lose an upper level manager like James, especially a city manager . . . you lose that institutional knowledge and that comfort of where you’ve been going,” Bane said. “That can be disruptive.”
Makshanoff is no stranger to East Los Angeles County, as he had previously held multiple positions, including that of city manager, for the city of Azusa prior to his tenure with the city of San Clemente, the Daily Bulletin reported.
In his resignation letter, Makshanoff said his last day with the city of San Clemente will be Jan. 17.
Shawn Raymundo is the city editor for the San Clemente Times. He graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in Global Studies. Before joining Picket Fence Media, he worked as the government accountability reporter for the Pacific Daily News in the U.S. territory of Guam. Follow him on Twitter @ShawnzyTsunami and follow San Clemente Times @SCTimesNews.