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Community Community Featured News Solana Beach

New city leader officially onboard

SOLANA BEACH — It’s official.

Greg Wade was formally hired as Solana Beach’s next city manager with a 4-0 vote at the May 13 meeting.

Mayor Lesa Heebner was absent but in a statement read by Councilman Dave Zito, she said she looked forward to working with him to “serve and enhance our beautiful community.”

“I am confident that he has the experience, qualifications, management style and personality to make this a seamless transition,” Heebner wrote.

“Thank you very much for this excellent and wonderful opportunity,” Wade said after the vote. “It’s been a pleasure to go through the process and get to know you.”

He thanked and congratulated his predecessor, David Ott, “for leading the city to this point.”

A San Diego resident for more than 30 years, Wade said it was “a really enjoyable experience getting to research Solana Beach.”

“I’ve always known it to be an exceptional city, and I’m really excited about the opportunity to work here,” he said.

Wade will receive a base salary of $198,000 a year, plus a $5,400 annual car allowance.

Because his retirement benefit — 2 percent at age 60 — is less than he currently receives as Imperial Beach’s assistant city manager and community development director, Solana Beach will make annual $10,000 payments, in equal amounts each pay period, into a qualified, city-approved deferred compensation plan of his choice.

Any salary increase must be approved by council members. Wade’s three-year contract begins June 22, unless extended by mutual agreement.

He is entitled to a severance pay equal to six months of his salary with a 60-day advance notice of termination or nonextension.

Wade currently receives $157,000 plus benefits per year, for a total annual salary of $211,700.

He was selected from a field of 80 applicants during the city’s second recruitment to replace Ott, who came from Imperial Beach to Solana Beach in 2003 as fire chief and director of public safety.

Ott was named deputy city manager in 2005 and city manager the following year.

He first announced his retirement in late 2010 but returned the following January as interim city manager. He was rehired that December under a two-year contract with an option for a one-year extension.

When he announced his second retirement in May 2014 the city began looking for a replacement. Several candidates were interviewed but council could not reach consensus.

Ott agreed to return again as interim city manager this past December.

Wade, 50, is a graduate of the University of California San Diego. He has more than two decades of local government experience. He has worked in Imperial Beach since 2001, serving as assistant city manager for the past four years.

Council members said they echoed Heebner’s remarks.

“I think it’s going to be a good fit,” Councilwoman Ginger Marshall said.

Marshall also thanked Ott and wished him well in his future endeavors.

“You’ve obviously done a great job here,” she said.

Zito said he’s received “absolutely nothing but great positive feedback from the community” about Wade.

“I’m looking forward to working with you,” he said.

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