The Anaheim City Council in a unanimous vote Tuesday night appointed interim City Manager Marcie Edwards permanently to the job, a move that counters statements Edwards made in May that she wasn't interested in the position.
The appointment came after former City Manager Bob Wingenroth left for a position in Surprise, Ariz., just before the Anaheim council considered a controversial $158-million room tax subsidy that he had opposed last year. Wingenroth's departure — which he said was made to be close to his extended family — befuddled many, because he had recently purchased a home in the city.
Edwards, who was first appointed interim city manager in May, was muted in her reaction to the announcement of the permanent appointment, which came at the end of a council meeting that went well past 10 p.m.
“The last 60 days I felt like I could make a difference,” Edwards said about changing her mind and pursuing the top spot. “I don't know what else to say.”
Edwards has been the city's public utilities general manager since January 2001. She was also acting assistant city manager between 2009 and 2011, according to a city news release regarding the interim appointment. Edwards spent nearly 25 years in the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, “where she served in a variety of capacities, including both craft as well as executive management positions,” the news release states.
Edwards was known to be close to previous City Manager Tom Wood, who resigned in 2011.
The appointment of Edwards as city manager is part of a larger turnover. The City Council last month also selected Michael R.W. Houston as its permanent city attorney after he was appointed interim city attorney in February.
Houston had replaced former City Attorney Cristina Talley, who was forced out by the council majority in February. Talley resigned after being told by council members that if she didn't do so she would face termination, according to an email she sent to city leaders.
Also, former Police Chief John Welter announced in April that he would step down May 16. Welter said he wanted to spend more time with family while he was still healthy and denied that his resignation was related to last year's civil unrest after a string of police shootings.