Friday, February 07, 2014

Letourneau New Assistant CEO/Admin. Svcs. Director

It came as absolutely NO surprise here at the old Cauldron that Tammy Letourneau was announced today as the successful applicant for the recently-created position of Assistant Chief Executive Officer/Administrative Services Director.  You can read the announcement HERE.

You may recall that, when this position was announced the middle of last month, I speculated that it was created specifically for Ms. Letourneau, HERE.  I does not surprise me at all that she is now going to fill this slot beginning on February 17th.  It's obvious, since it's been less than a month since the job was created, that NO outside recruitment has taken place - this slot was hers from the get-go.

Don't get me wrong... her credentials are very strong and she has a professional history with CEO Tom Hatch that goes back many years.  In her role as consultant, she's been a "virtual" employee in the City of Costa Mesa since almost the day Hatch took over as City Manager - then CEO.  The firm she worked through, Management Partners, has made a lot of money in the city during that time, including performing a lengthy - and mostly ignored - audit of the Costa Mesa Police Department and the much more recent very critical assessment of the Costa Mesa Senior Center.

I view this announcement with strong mixed feelings. On one hand, as a guy who recruited for a living for decades, I recognize that Hatch has had a long test drive with Letourneau working as a consultant, so certainly is in a position to know her strengths and weaknesses.  From that standpoint, her selection makes sense.  However, I'm more than a little uncomfortable that it appears this position and the recent reorganization that created the Parks and Community Services Department (which includes Senior Center oversight) was cobbled together to meet her specific skill set - and done immediately after the Senior Center Audit was completed.  And, of course, I'm distressed that, while ALL other parts of the City government are suffering greatly due to staffing shortages, the fifth floor "Executive Offices" continues to bulk up.  One day this upside-down pyramid may simply topple over because of the weight at the top.

And, I wonder what role she played, if any, in the curious abrupt departure of Recreation Manager Bob Knapp two weeks ago?

So, we will watch to see how her assignment plays out, and if the City will be a better-managed organization because of her performance in this new job.  And, we will join the anxious members and management of the Costa Mesa Senior Center to see if Letourneau's appointment in a position that oversees their organization may result in the City taking over the operations of that facility.

And, we will be interested to see what happens if Hatch finally begins to push back on some of the ill-advised, illegal and just plain stupid moves this council has been making since they took over and they fire him for it.  Letourneau has been a City Manager elsewhere - twice.

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