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San Clemente City manager Erik Sund resigns – Orange County Register

San Clemente City Manager Erik Sund announced his retirement and said he would accept a new job in the same role in the 5,000-person community of Big Bear Lake in the San Bernardino Mountains.

Sund is leaving the Spanish seaside village on September 9 after serving for just over a year as top chief for the community of 65,000. He was hired to this position in May 2021 after six years working alongside previous city managers James Makshanoff and Bob Dunek.

Sund handed in his resignation on Friday 12 August.

“I have nothing but love for the San Clemente community,” Sund said. “It has been a great honor to serve this city for nearly nine years and I am very grateful for the opportunity I have been offered to serve as city manager.”

Sund also commended the city’s staff, expressing his respect and gratitude to them.

“Without them I would not have been successful and they are the real heroes who keep this city beautiful, or rather, the beautiful Spanish village by the sea,” he added.

Sund has 33 years of local government experience in Southern California. Previously, he was Director of Financial Management for the City of Long Beach, Purchasing Manager for the City of Downey, and Senior Purchasing Officer for the City of Irvine.

In previous searches by city officials in San Clemente, the council met to discuss the city’s needs and an outside company was hired to conduct a statewide search. Before Sund was appointed to the position in May 2021, the council screened 130 candidates for the position. Sund has served as San Clemente’s assistant city manager since 2013.

“They will be discussing what to do with an interim and initiate recruitment during the upcoming council meeting on Tuesday, August 16,” said San Clemente Attorney Scott Smith.

Calls for Sund’s resignation have been a constant drumbeat at San Clemente City Council meetings – and most recently during a special session held earlier this month to consider an anti-abortion sanctuary for life resolution. Council member Steve Knoblock’s proposal was eventually defeated 3-1.

Local residents have accused him of being unresponsive, unsympathetic, politically motivated and slow to act.

When he was elected city manager, Councilwoman Laura Ferguson was the only “no” vote, saying at the time: “We can do better.” On Friday, she echoed that sentiment, saying she was “surprised” by his resignation and ” didn’t know he was looking.”

“I am satisfied and look forward to finding a new city manager who will serve this city better than he does,” she said.

“We have enough people in management, in directorships and even at the executive level to have institutional knowledge,” Ferguson said. “We need someone who can be ahead of the curve rather than just reactive. Someone who is not political and serves the will of the council. Now we have a city manager who just didn’t do it and chooses to ignore and implement things at his own pace.”

Before joining the council, Ferguson worked for the City of San Clemente from 1999 to 2017.

Sund admitted there were those who didn’t favor him, saying: “There will always be noise.”

“I choose not to listen to the noise and listen to the advice,” he said in response to his calls for resignation.

Sund said he is most proud of his work, which has softened the toll road expansion, helped find an alternative use for the former site of the old San Clemente Hospital, and kept his staff focused on the goals.

Knoblock said he “wishes Sund the best in his new position”.

“The City of Big Bear Lake gains a seasoned and experienced city manager who has served our city well,” said Councilwoman Kathy Ward, who voted in favor of his appointment to his current position. “We ask a lot of our city managers. Since my time on the city council, we’ve settled several quality of life issues: vacation rentals, sober apartment buildings, and we’ve prevented a toll road from running right through our city. I wish him continued success in his next position and thank him for his service.”

Big Bear Lake is about 70 miles northeast of San Clemente.

This story has been updated.

https://www.ocregister.com/2022/08/12/san-clemente-city-manager-erik-sund-resigns/ San Clemente City manager Erik Sund resigns – Orange County Register

Dais Johnston

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