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Current Laguna Beach Assistant City Manager Shohreh Dupuis will serve as the seaside town’s next city manager.
Editors’ Note: This dispatch is part of the Voice of OC Youth Media program, working with student journalists to cover public policy issues across Orange County. If you would like to submit your own student media project related to Orange County civics or if you have any response to this work, contact Digital Editor Sonya Quick at email@example.com.
The City Council voted unanimously earlier this month to approve an employment agreement for Dupuis, having appointed her to the city’s top executive post in late April. She takes on her new role June 12.
Dupuis will replace current City Manager John Pietig, who has been in the position for a decade, following his retirement. She was picked from among six candidates, according to City Clerk Ann Marie McKay.
The council approved a three-year agreement for Dupuis, with one automatic two-year extension unless the council agrees at least six months in advance to deny the extension.
Dupuis’s contract guarantees her an annual base salary of $275,000 and an automatic exceptional performance pay of 2.5% of her annual base salary to be received on July 1, 2022, and each year after, as long as she receives a satisfactory performance review, according to the staff report.
Dupuis’s salary falls in the middle of city manager’s compensations of Irvine and the six other Orange County coastal cities, with the lowest salary being $236,250 in Dana Point, and the highest being $290,014 in Irvine, according to a presentation given by Gavin Curran, director of administrative services, during the meeting.
Multiple people commented on the appointment during the council meeting, some in favor and others opposed.
Brian Isley, a resident of Laguna Beach, said he disapproved of the contract, saying that Dupuis’s proposed salary was too high for the size of the city.
He contended that Laguna Beach is the second smallest of Orange County’s coastal cities, with only 23,000 residents, and has “much less in the way of responsibility.”
Alex Lintner, another resident, voiced support for Dupuis.
“Though I don’t know Mrs. Dupuis personally, she appeared knowledgeable, levelheaded and warm hearted everytime she contributed to these discussions at the City Council level,” said Lintner.
“As an immigrant myself, it is invigorating to see the city’s first immigrant, and for that matter, the first female city manager in this city’s history,” he continued.
Mayor Bob Whalen also praised Dupuis.
“We had good candidates; Shohreh proved to be the best candidate in my view. I feel she is fully prepared to take this over,” said Whalen.