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Morro Bay city manager to leave for position at HASLO

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After six years of serving the city of Morro Bay, City Manager Scott Collins is moving on.

Collins, who was selected as city manager in 2017, told New Times that he will be the new executive director of the Housing Authority of San Luis Obispo (HASLO). The decision to step down came after Collins said the pandemic forced him to reevaluate his "place in the world."

NEW BEGINNINGS After six years of serving as Morro Bay's city manager, Scott Collins has his sights set on a different endeavor as executive director of HASLO. - PHOTO COURTESY OF SCOTT COLLINS
  • Photo Courtesy Of Scott Collins
  • NEW BEGINNINGS After six years of serving as Morro Bay's city manager, Scott Collins has his sights set on a different endeavor as executive director of HASLO.

"You know, city managers and others who are on the front lines in rescue, they have an opportunity to really kind of do that deep thinking," Collins said. "So that was something that came later for me and just thinking about what I want to accomplish in the world. And I have a deep personal connection to the mission of HASLO."

Details of his impending departure were discussed at a Jan. 30 special closed session meeting. According to Human Resources Manager Rachael Hendricks, the city will first appoint an interim city manager while the City Council will begin a recruitment process to hire a more permanent replacement, which can take up to three to six months.

"But I also want to make sure I leave the city in a really, really stable situation. I believe in an exceptional City Council, mayor, and a really strong executive team, but the city manager sort of helps connect those pieces, and so we want to make sure we have somebody in the interim role that will keep moving things forward."

Collins told New Times that his time as city manager would come to a close by the end of February and is expecting to tentatively start his new position at HASLO sometime around early March.

"I fell in love with this place and certainly it was a major factor in my decisions for me as well. I still live in Morro Bay, and if I have it my way we never leave," Collins said. "The community is so great and our kids are in school here, and so it's great that we'd be able to continue to live here and use those relationships, leverage the relationships that we have already built here to help with the HASLO mission."

During his time as the city's helm, Collins helped lead Morro Bay through natural disasters, the COVID-19 pandemic, and changes with city administration. After six years, Collins said that there's one project that stands apart from the rest—the Water Reclamation Facility.

"At least two-thirds of it [are] getting complete or near complete, but definitely operational on time for that storm we just experienced. Had it not been ready to go online, we would be facing potential ecological disaster Morro Bay," Collins said. "That is something that previous mayors, and City Council members, and staff and community members and current mayors, city managers, city councils and state managers—all the staff made happen. I just happened to be here to see that all come to fruition."

While Collins' departure was discussed in closed session, that didn't stop Morro Bay residents from expressing their gratitude.

"He is by far the best city manager we have ever had. His dedication to the needs of the citizens of Morro Bay has been overwhelming. He performed his duties with such professionalism and ease it was difficult to follow all of his many accomplishments," Lynda and Frank Merrill wrote in an email to the City Council. "Morro Bay will be losing a special man and a vital leader in Manager Collins." Δ

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