Oliver Chi is set to be the next Irvine City Manager, taking over the wheel of one of Orange County’s largest cities and leaving Huntington Beach behind after just over two years.
Irvine officially announced Wednesday evening that Chi was the finalist for the job in a short press release documenting his experience.
Chi has a long history in local governments, serving as the assistant city manager of Barstow in 2011 before moving to his first city manager position in Monrovia in October of 2014.
He came to Orange County with his shift to Huntington Beach in 2019.
While the city has not yet released Chi’s full contract, they confirmed he’d agreed to a two year term for $301,000 in “compensation.” It is unclear if that number includes benefits or not.
His contract when he moved to Huntington Beach in 2019 gave him a base salary of $260,000, in addition to his benefits package.
Interim city manager Marianna Marysheva also issued a letter to city staff announcing the city council had chosen Chi for the top job.
“I hope you will welcome Oliver to Irvine and extend your respect and support to him,” Marysheva wrote. “Let’s keep Irvine the special place it has been for many families, businesses and visitors.”
The letter from Marysheva confirmed she would stay on to ensure a smooth transition to the next administration after serving as the city’s interim city manager for over a year, but didn’t state whether she would stay on permanently.
Marysheva did not respond to requests for comment Thursday morning.
The letter first appeared on the Facebook group Huntington Beach Insider, a public page with over 12,000 members in a post titled “CHI IS GONE TO IRVINE….OH HAPPY DAY.”
Irvine officials started looking for a new manager in May 2020, when then city manager John Russo resigned citing family concerns, giving the city three months’ notice to begin looking for his replacement.
His resignation was only a few months after the council was set to discuss disciplining or firing him in January 2020, but that discussion was wiped off the agenda after it became public knowledge he was the employee being discussed.
Then Councilwoman, now Mayor Farrah Khan and Councilman Anthony Kuo agendized the discussion for Russo’s discipline.
With Chi’s departure, Huntington Beach will join the other Orange County cities searching for managers including Fullerton, Westminster and Orange.
The Irvine City Council next meets on Nov. 9, where they will vote on officially approving Chi’s employment contract.
Noah Biesiada is a Voice of OC Reporting Fellow. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @NBiesiada.