The Anaheim City Council Tuesday night appointed Public Utilities General Manager Marcie Edwards interim city manager effective Wednesday, ending days of uncertainty over the status of outgoing City Manager Bob Wingenroth.
The confusion over Wingenroth started with a memo he sent last week to city officials declaring he had ceded control of the city’s bureaucracy to Edwards, according to Mayor Tom Tait. The memo caught many by surprise, because Wingenroth’s effective resignation date is June 7.
A city news release stated that Wingenroth’s departure remains unchanged, “but a transition was made in order to afford Wingenroth greater flexibility to address family matters in the interim, as well as to insure a smooth transition should the recruitment for a permanent City Manager replacement extend past June 7.”
At one point when it seemed as if Wingenroth might be out the door, last night’s council meeting agenda included a vote on the highly controversial $158-million subsidy for two local hoteliers. However, after it became clear that Wingenroth would be at the meeting, the item was pulled from the agenda.
Wingenroth had opposed the original subsidy last year, and there has been speculation at City Hall that the council majority wants a city manager that will recommend the deal.
Edwards said she hasn’t formed a recommendation on the subsidy because she has yet to be briefed on the issue. “It’s going to take me a while to get up to speed,” she said.
The city attorney also announced that city officials have retained Ralph Anderson & Associates to conduct a search for a new city manager. Edwards said she is not interested in pursuing the permanent position.
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 the news release. Prior to being with the city, 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.