OCEANSIDE — Michelle Skaggs Lawrence is retiring from her position as city manager in the fall.
“I believe that the timing is right for my departure,” Skaggs Lawrence told City Council in her resignation letter dated July 8.
First hired as an administrative analyst, Skaggs Lawrence has worked for the city in numerous capacities for the last 30 years.
Skaggs Lawrence became interim city manager in February 2015 when council forced out Steve Jepsen, the previous city manager. She ended up keeping the job.
Oceanside’s city manager reports directly to council, which creates policy and in turn gives city manager directions to make that policy happen. The city manager also oversees executive staff members who manage departments within the city.
The city manager is responsible for the city’s $576 million budget and more than 1,300 employees.
Oceanside pays its city manager $254,527 annually with a $500 monthly auto allowance.
According to the city, some of Skaggs Lawrence’s achievements as city manager include “overseeing a renaissance” of downtown and implementation of Measure X in 2018 to pay for infrastructure and public safety needs in the city for the next seven years.
“The budget for next year is approved, the Measure X effort is substantially completed with a year one budget in place, numerous important projects are underway, the City’s financial position is enviable and secure, labor relations are positive and the 2020 election is not currently complicating the Council’s ability to select my replacement,” Skaggs Lawrence wrote in her resignation letter.
Skaggs Lawrence will remain city manager until an undetermined date sometime in the fall.
“I am being flexible, working with the Council to make the transition as smooth as possible,” she told The Coast News via email.
Mayor Peter Weiss said he was meeting with a recruiter to begin the search for a new city manager on Aug. 5.
Weiss said he appreciates Skaggs Lawrence’s dedication and support both in his current role as mayor as well as his previous position as city manager, when Skaggs Lawrence was his assistant.
“I think the city as a whole is going to miss her,” he said.
Skaggs Lawrence is going to miss the city as well.
“I have spent my entire municipal professional career here,” she said about Oceanside in her email. “I love this place … its people, its employees (who are wonderful by the way — talented, dedicated and extremely hard working).”
Skaggs Lawrence said the city has gone through “so much positive change” in the last 30 years, both the community at large as well as right inside City Hall.
“The City is in a good place — well run, fiscally stable with talented employees. In all of my years, I have never seen such a competent and adept Executive Team,” she continued. “I will be leaving the City in good hands!”
Photo Caption: Oceanside City Manager Michelle Skaggs Lawrence is retiring in the fall. Photo courtesy of the city of Oceanside.
Samantha Nelson covers Oceanside, Camp Pendleton and the decommissioning San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. She earned her journalism degree from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, and has previously reported for The Athens Messenger in Athens, Ohio, and USA Today in McLean, Virginia. Follow her on Twitter: @samm1son