New leaders emerging in Arroyo Grande



With City Council meetings coming fast and furious in Arroyo Grande recently, the city is making good on its promise to move forward after a divisive July 3 incident and subsequent fallout.

The council met on Nov. 25, Dec. 1, and is slated to meet on Dec. 3 (after New Times press time) as well as on Dec. 9.

"It's definitely been a busy season," said Debbie Malicoat, the city's director of administrative services and current acting city manager.

Malicoat is leading the search for an interim city manager—who would likely serve temporarily while the city searches for a permanent replacement for Steve Adams, the longtime city manager whose resignation the council accepted on Nov. 19.

"In terms of an interim city manager, I'd say we've had 14 or 15 people who have come up as options one way or another thus far," Malicoat told New Times on Dec. 3. "About four or five of those folks are truly viable—meaning they've expressed interest and are also available."

Malicoat said she plans on running through the interim city manager selection process with the council on Dec. 3 in addition to detailing the candidates she's received thus far. She expects to cut off the inflow of potential candidates on Dec. 5, and present a winnowed list for the council's perusal during the Dec. 9 meeting.

"I would say the council appointing an interim city manager on Dec. 9 is possible, but unlikely," Malicoat added. "It's a really important choice, and we want to be diligent."

The City Council will also likely select a consulting firm on Dec. 9 to conduct the permanent city manager search, according to Malicoat.

While the city manager position is undergoing changes, so too is the makeup of the Arroyo Grande City Council.

At the Dec. 1 council meeting, new Councilwoman Barbara Harmon and new Mayor Jim Hill were sworn in, joining re-elected Councilman Tim Brown and returning Council Members Jim Guthrie and Kristen Barneich.

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