The Anaheim City Council Tuesday night selected interim City Manager Bob Wingenroth to be the city’s chief bureaucrat, a unanimous move by a council that has in recent months seemed split in its support of him.

Wingenroth, who was the city’s finance director before he was chosen to take the helm after former City Manager Thomas Wood resigned late last year, has been with the city since 2010.

Council members have praised him for his endearing personality and compassion for city residents.

“We had several strong candidates, all of whom were highly qualified, but Bob has something extra,” said Mayor Tom Tait. “His collaborative management style, his financial acumen, and his strong commitment to a healthy, connected and kind community will benefit Anaheim residents and businesses for years to come.”

Wood stepped down late last year after a series of controversies at City Hall, most notably revelations by Voice of OC of conflict of interest issues in the city’s Planning Department.

The pick came as a surprise to some City Hall observers because council support of Wingenroth seemed split after his recommendation against a $158-million subsidy for a hotel developer that was approved earlier this year on a 3-2 vote. Councilwoman Kris Murray had voted against installing him as interim city manager.

After the subsidy vote, Councilman Harry Sidhu, who voted along with Murray and Councilwoman Gail Eastman for the subsidy, blasted Wingenroth for turning on the lights in the council chambers for an impromptu town hall meeting called for by opponents of the subsidy vote.

But on Tuesday Sidhu congratulated Wingenroth, noting that his appointment came on election night.

“I think we’ve done the same thing today; today we voted for Bob,” Sidhu said.

Wingenroth’s compensation and contract terms have yet to be decided, but council members are expected to approve the contract at an upcoming council meeting, according to a news release on the selection.

Before coming to Anaheim, Wingenroth was finance director for Huntington Beach and before that for Phoenix, Ariz., where he began his career in city government. He has a B.S. in Accounting and earned his MBA at Arizona State University, according to the news release.


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