New-look City Council will face major decision when seated later this year

Current councilmembers are reviewing candidates for the city manager vacancy, but a final decision will be made by a Council that could contain a majority of brand new members.
The entrance to Council chambers at Palm Springs City Hall.

There’s a chance the next version of the Palm Springs City Council will contain a majority of members who have never served in elected office in the city. And right out of the gate they will be part of one of the biggest decisions councilmembers can ever make.

Driving the news: Two of the five current councilmembers aren’t seeking reelection and a third who is faces a challenger. A fourth is seeking higher office in Sacramento. That scenario guarantees at least two new people will take to the dais, and it’s possible there will be three or four new members.

  • At the same time, the city needs a new manager. Former City Manager Justin Clifton left in September and is now a global operations manager for Mark Zuckerberg’s company (We assume he’s handling statue controversies in The Metaverse).

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The latest: Mayor Lisa Middleton said Tuesday the current Council recently met with the recruiter handling the search for a new city manager and was able to narrow down the list of candidates to “between six and 10.” Councilmembers will do one more review, but then “the new City Council will choose the new city manager.”

  • “I’m pleased with the type of talent that is interested in Palm Springs,” Middleton said.

Bigger picture: Clifton’s departure was one of eight high-profile vacancies at City Hall in the past year. A new police chief, assistant city manager, parks and recreation director, city clerk, planning director, and sustainability director are now all in place. A new fire chief is still needed.

  • Last week the city announced another new department head was now on board. David McAbee, who served as the public works services manager in Chino, is now the director of public works in Palm Springs.

  • McAbee had been with Chino for the past 21 years. He started his career there as an equipment mechanic.

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