Former city manager considering returning to Oceanside

OCEANSIDE — Heads up Yuba City, former Oceanside city manager and current Yuba City, City Manager Steven Jepsen is being considered for reappointment in Oceanside. 

Jepsen served as Oceanside city manager from 2000 to 2006.

Mayor Jim Wood and Councilwoman Esther Sanchez, who were on the 2006 city council, said Jepsen left under a cloud of suspicion.

No wrongdoing was ever legally proven against Jepsen, but connections to a city employee who hired an under-qualified friend for a city job and was let go along with the new hire, and another city employee who moved city dirt to a residential property under the darkness of night, shook trust in Jepsen for Wood, Sanchez and others.

“I’ll be shocked if he comes back,” Wood said.

Councilman Jack Feller who also served on the 2006 city council recommended Jepsen for reappointment as city manager. Jepsen can be appointed to the position by a city council simple majority vote.

“There never was a cloud in my eyes,” Feller said. “There was never any proven wrong doing. It’s distant past now.”

Feller said Jepsen is very qualified and has a long list of accomplishments.

“We’ve given him an offer,” Feller said. “The bugs haven’t been worked out. He hasn’t agreed to a contract.”

Jepsen said on Oct. 3 that he did not have an agreement with the city.

He added that he would be in Oceanside Oct. 4, “to talk with staff and others regarding our mutual interest.”

“No agreement is in place or has been accepted at this point,” Jepsen said.

“Oceanside has much appeal for me however, it also has a long history of political disruptiveness,” Jepsen said. “The political challenges have eclipsed my prior tenure with the community. That said, there is much to Oceanside from a positive perspective.”

Jepsen began working for the city of Oceanside in 1994 as the community services director. He took on the position of deputy city manager in 1999 and became city manager in 2000 following the resignation of Tom Wilson.

Among his accomplishments, he worked with the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce to open and fund the California Welcome Center, assisted in the development of the 440-acre Ocean Ranch industrial park, and attracted the $500 million Genentec (Biogen-IDEC) Pharmaceutical manufacturing plant to set up operations in Oceanside.

Jepsen also developed the public selection process for the pier hotel project and facilitated the development agreement with SI Malkin.

Fiscally, he issued several million dollars in pension obligation bonds, which significantly reduced Oceanside’s interest payments and unfunded pension liabilities to CalPERS.

The 2005-06 fiscal year ended with a city budget of over $30 million in general fund reserves.

“He started an awful lot of good things here,” Feller said. “He knows the cost of things and what’s necessary to make a coastal city thrive. It’s not like he’s someone we need to retrain.”

Jepsen said he would like to help the city move forward on the beach hotel, El Corazon, and infrastructure maintenance and road network completion.

He would also like to see “service delivery options” for first responders, and an increase in police service focusing on neighborhoods, gangs and drug enforcement efforts.

“I would look forward to working with all council members and the community to these ends,” Jepsen said. “Oceanside is a great place to live and a wonderful community. It has a lot going for it. It has potential for a great future.”

 

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