Newest Palm Springs city manager reports for work

Scott Stiles takes over the role from Teresa Gallavan, the assistant city manager who had been in the role on an interim basis since Justin Clifton departed in September 2022.
Palm Springs City Manager Scott Stiles and Mayor Grace Garner pose on his first day at work Monday at City Hall. (Photo: City of Palm Springs)

For the fourth time in the past three years, Palm Springs has a new person at the top of the employee ladder at City Hall.

Driving the news: Scott Stiles, who was officially hired as city manager after approval by the Palm Springs City Council in January, reported for work Monday. He will earn an annual base salary of $325,000.

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  • Stiles took over the role from Teresa Gallavan, the assistant city manager who had been filling in as interim city manager since Justin Clifton departed in September 2022. Clifton replaced David Ready, who had been in the role for two decades, in 2021.

  • “What a pleasure and honor it is for me to join the city of Palm Springs as your city manager,” he wrote to city staff. “Working in local government is an awesome responsibility, with countless challenges, yet endlessly rewarding. … My conversations with city councilmembers and senior staff have me energized for the future.”

Details: Prior to starting work here on Monday, Stiles was the city manager in Garden Grove — a position he held for the past seven years. In that city, he oversaw the day-to-day operations of nine departments with 640 employees in a city with a population of 170,000. He will have similar responsibilities here, overseeing roughly 650 employees, but in a city with roughly 44,000 people.

  • Stiles came to Garden Grove from Cincinnati in 2015. The 64-year-old holds an undergraduate degree in journalism and geography from South Dakota State University and a master of community planning from the University of Cincinnati.

What they’re saying: “I am just so thrilled that he is our new city manager,” said Mayor Grace Garner in an Instagram post shortly after Stiles sent his first email to city staff. “I think he is going to be excellent and he has so many good ideas and so much respect for the work that is done in this city and in the community.”

Looking back: Clifton, who came to Palm Spring after a six-year stint in Sedona, Ariz., submitted his resignation in July 2022 after 15 months on the job. Clifton did not formally state the reason for his resignation. He went on to work at Meta.

  • At the time, Clifton’s departure became the latest in a series of high profile turnovers at City Hall.

  • Starting with the departure of former Police Chief Bryan Reyes in August 2021, and ending with the resignation of Fire Chief Kevin Nalder in August 2022, roughly half a dozen department heads or assistant department heads left the city.

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