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City council accepts Vina’s resignation

ENCINITAS — The City Council unanimously accepted City Manager Gus Vina’s resignation at Wednesday’s council meeting, and has formed a committee to begin the search for his interim and permanent replacement.

Emerging from a closed session at 11 p.m., the council said that it would form an ad hoc committee composed of Mayor Kristin Gaspar and Deputy Mayor Catherine Blakespear, who would meet to put together a list of potential interim candidates for the entire council to then select from, as well as a list of headhunting firms the council could choose from to assist the city in its search for a permanent replacement.

Vina, who was hired in 2011 to replace former City Manager Phil Cotton, announced last week that he was resigning to take a position in Northern California, where he previously served in the cities of Sacramento and Stockton. Vina has not announced where his next post will be.

The council earlier on Wednesday also compromised with Vina, who had requested his resigntion be effective Jan. 16, to expand that date to extend until the end of January.

This, the council said, would give the city more time to make an interim hire and would ensure the transition would go as smoothly as possible.

Vina leaves at a time when the city is closing escrow on the former Pacific View Elementary School site and is ramping up its efforts to complete the housing element update that residents will vote on in the 2016 election.

Under Vina’s stewardship, the city has completed the $40 million Encinitas Community Park and the redesign of Moonlight Beach, a fire station in Olivenhain and the financing for a new lifeguard tower at Moonlight Beach and the purchase of the Pacific View Elementary School site.

Some residents have been critical of his handling of city council requests, his hiring of a communications specialist and his 11th-hour announcement that the city would likely have to spend thousands more annually on debt costs associated with the purchase of the Pacific View Elementary School site because the city would have to pursue taxable bonds rather than tax-exempt bonds.

Vina said that none of the criticisms weighed on his decision to leave, which had been in the works for several months.