City Council appoints new city manager

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After an exhaustive two month search, reviewing the qualifications of 34 applicants and conducting two rounds of interviews, the Canyon Lake City Council identified Chris Mann as their top pick for city manager. On Feb. 27, a contract offer was extended and a tentative deal was struck.

In a unanimous vote on Mar. 6, the Council approved a contract with Mann and appointed him to serve as the administrative head of the city.

“I’m very pleased to be here. I’d like to thank the Council. It was a very enjoyable application process and I enjoyed getting to know the council members,” said Mann. “I spent quite a bit of time here in the city during the process and what an amazingly beautiful community Canyon Lake is. The people here are so warm and welcoming. We have some challenges, particularly in relations to the budget, but I think it’s nothing we can’t solve.”

Mann brings to Canyon Lake, a wide breadth of experience, both in the public and private sectors. A former administrative analyst and deputy chief of staff for the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, Mann started in public service at a young age.

In 1999, at the age of 23, Mann was elected to the Westlake Village City Council. In December 2002, he was sworn in as mayor.

Mann also served on two separate water boards, the San Gorgonio Pass Water Agency and the Yucaipa Valley Water District, where he was appointed in January 2019 to serve as the president of the board.

Much of Mann’s professional experience has been in the private sector. Since 2005, Mann has owned and operated Mann Communications, a public relations firm specializing in helping businesses interface and work with local government, and helping local government agencies more effectively communicate with the public.

The company’s client list has included local small businesses, residential and commercial real estate development companies, industry associations, labor groups, cities, political action committees and non-profit organizations.

Although this is Mann’s first city manager post, the City Council feels that his varied professional experiences match perfectly with the issues Canyon Lake is currently facing.

“Chris has had proven success throughout his career in the areas of communications, public outreach and engagement, economic development, contract negotiations, governmental affairs and managing staff and multi-million-dollar budgets,” said Canyon Lake Mayor Larry Greene. “What’s more, Chris has the right relationships to help our city work collaboratively throughout the region for the benefit of Canyon Lake residents.”

“This is a big win for our city,” said Councilman Jeremy Smith. “We were able to bring on a proven leader who will take a business-minded approach to the job of running the day-to-day operations of our city. Yet, someone who also has an abundance of local government experience. I’m excited about what this means for the future of Canyon Lake.”

The terms of Mann’s contract provides for an annual base salary of $142,000, $150 monthly cell allowance, fringe benefits generally equivalent to those of other city employees with the following exceptions: no cap on sick leave accrual, 40 hours of vacation time and 80 hours of management time. If he chooses, he may decline health insurance, which has a value of approximately $1,000 per month, and instead receive $3,000 annual stipend.

Mann will be responsible for the efficient administrations of all departments operating within the City of Canyon Lake, while providing overall direction to ensure that city policy is adhered to.

In addition, Mann will oversee the functions of Human Resources and Risk Management, Economic Development, Communication, preparation of the Annual Operating Budget, all contract administration, state and federal grant processing and agenda processing and review for the City Council.

To fulfill these duties, the city manager is aided by three full-time employees, three part-time special enforcement officers, one full-time code enforcement officer and contracts with the following agencies/firms: City Attorney Elizabeth Martyn, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, Riverside Country Fire Department, Riverside County Library System, Interwest Consulting Group and Rogers, Anderson, Malody and Scott Accountants.

Mann said he is honored to have the opportunity to serve as city manager and is committed to working with the City Council to ensure a high level of service for residents and continuing to find innovative solutions to protecting and enhancing Canyon Lake’s unique quality of life.

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Donna Ritchie