Opinion: My Performance Evaluation of the Irvine City Manager

Public comment

Irvine has a representative democracy decision making process which involves the people electing representatives to represent their interests and concerns.  This process includes public participation by means of Irvine’s elected representatives and city staff members listening to and sharing information with city residents.

Our City Manager has been actively engaging with community groups on a number of critical issues in the past year. As the City Council considers the City Manager’s job performance, it is important that feedback from the community be included in the evaluation.

I am sorry to say that, as recently reported by Irvine Watchdog, there are growing concerns in the community over the City Manager’s job performance. These include:

  • His recent claim that he met with North Irvine residents and reviewed “the details” of the so-called Settlement Agreement with All American Asphalt. Those residents disputed this assertion in a letter to the City and have instead stated that the City Manager refused to share details of the proposed Agreement. Did the City Manager mislead the City Council on the details of his meetings with these residents?
  • The recent failure of the Great Park Advisory Committee where nearly half of the members resigned, some stating that multiple requests for project costs were never provided by staff and that “little to no work got done.”
  • The poorly managed effort to give the LA Galaxy Soccer Club exclusive rights to play at the Great Park Championship Soccer Stadium, while refusing to meet with the OC Soccer Club owner to discuss their continued use of the facility.
  • It has also been reported that the City Manager has been publicly advocating that Irvine adopt the State’s 2045 carbon neutrality goal. Why is the City Manager advocating a policy position that runs counter to the City Council’s stated goal of net neutrality by 2030?

Special Interest Influence and the Path Forward

Judging by the ever increasing numbers of special interest PACs supported campaign flyers filling resident mailboxes in recent years, it is apparent that special interests have gained, and are continuing to gain, influence over the actions and decisions made not only by this City Council, but also by the City Manager, and even the City Attorney, as their jobs and contract renewals depend on City Council approval.

In order to improve Irvine’s democratic decision making process and make it less responsive to special interest influence, I propose making the City Manager an elected position which would require the position to work more cooperatively with Irvine residents in addressing their issues and concerns.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the position of Irvine Watchdog or any of its volunteers. If you would like to submit an Opinion piece, please review our guidelines and send it to us here.