City of Ventura Appoints Don Penman Interim City Manager as Negotiations Continue with Finalist

City officials are in late stage negotiations with finalist

Don Penman Interim City Manager

(Ventura, Ca) The Ventura City Council has selected retired city manager Don Penman to serve on an interim basis as Ventura’s city manager. Penman retired in 2011 from the City of Arcadia after serving for 13 years. Since retirement, Penman served as interim city manager for Azusa, Covina, San Fernando and Temple City.

“I look forward to serving the public in Ventura and working with the City Council and staff in moving the city forward,” said Don Penman.

Penman has been retained until the end of February 2019 but may not be needed for that entire duration depending on when a candidate is selected and the agreed upon start date.

City Manager Mark Watkins held the position until December 2017 when he retired. Assistant City Manager Dan Paranick served as interim city manager until August 24, 2018, when he resigned to accept other employment. An interim city manager is needed to complete objectives established by the city council.

Mr. Penman will serve for six months or until the new city manager assumes the position. There are no proposed benefits for Mr. Penman in accordance with CalPERS requirements.

Search for a New City Manager in Ventura

The initial search began before Mark Watkins left In December 2017 and resulted in a candidate selection. Ultimately the finalist pulled out of the process as the City dealt with the aftermath of the Thomas Fire. The process then restarted in May. Since then the City is in discussions with a finalist.

In the position announcement provided by the City, the description states, “The City of Ventura is seeking a City Manager who has a can-do attitude, is an experienced public administrator, and adept at fiscal management, budget development, and municipal operations.”

In a description of the city, the announcement states, “The City is a full-service municipality with fire, police and utilities (water, wastewater and solid waste), serving over 100,000 residents within the 32 square mile city limits. Approximately 600 staff in 10 departments are focused on delivering key services to businesses, residents and visitors to ensure Ventura remains a fiscally stable, economically vibrant, safe, clean and desirable community. The City has a general fund operating budget of $306 million for FY1819 ($231M operating and $75M capital improvement). November 2016 residents passed Measure O (one-half percent sales tax increase) which is expected to generate an additional $10.8M.”

The announcement goes on to state, “Ventura is a Charter City operating with a Council/City Manager form of government. The City Council currently has a seven member Council who are elected. However, the Council will be moving to a district election in November, 2018.”

In describing parks and sites, the announcement states, “Locals and visitors enjoy the City’s impressive park system that includes 32 parks and historic sites, and more than 800 acres of open green space.”

In describing the business environment, the announcement states, “The City is home to a diverse mix of more than 12,000 businesses and a robust workforce of more than 53,000. A growing entrepreneurial ecosystem and a dynamic startup community make Ventura a strategic location to start a business. The City was one of the first to sponsor a business incubator, which has graduated a number of successful companies, including The Trade Desk, MomentFeed, Connexity, and GiddyUp and is home to progressive business headquarters for Patagonia, The Trade Desk and Petunia Pickle Bottom.”

The position salary is listed at $247,000 and includes a myriad of benefits including pension with CalPERS.


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