With the retirement of National City City Manager Leslie Deese on April 2, Stephen Manganiello, who currently serves as the director of public works/city engineer, will step in that same day as acting city manager.
Manganiello, 42, has been with the city for 12 years, holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Wisconsin. He currently oversees approximately 60 employees.
“She’s (Deese) been with the city for over 30 years and as city manager for the last seven,” said Manganiello. “A lot of employees are going to miss her.”
Part of the responsibilities of the position include overseeing “all the employees, the city budget, day-to-day operations, services that we provide for the community,” he said. “I will maintain the current city manager’s open door policy, I will be available to staff by phone or email.”
Colleagues and support staff noted what their experiences were like working with Manganiello.
“We see him as a mentor,” said Tirza Gonzales, executive secretary to Manganiello. “He is always available for guidance and feedback. He puts the right people with the correct tasks, based on their skills and abilities.”
Roberto Yano, who will step in as acting deputy city engineer, noted Manganiello’s ability to land grants for the city.
“He’s been so successful in acquiring a lot of grants,” said Yano, “Over $16 million in grants for the city. For example, we did get a grant for the Bayshore Bikeway – segment 5, cycle 4 ATP – $5,421,000. Construction funded fiscal year 2022.”
Deese cited some of her biggest accomplishments: improving morale; employee development; employee wellness; develop a police retention and recruitment program; develop a pension and trust fund; rebuilt the finance department with clean audits again; built the Paradise Housing Project and renovation of the Morgan Kimball Towers.
Deese, who’s salary is $220,000, noted the closing period for the city manager position is March 29. Manganiello’s salary, according to Gonzales, is not yet determined. The recruitment firm handling the national search is Bob Murray & Associates.
On March 28 Mayor Alexandra Sotelo-Solis will present a state of the city address. Manganiello will be sitting in as acting city manager at that time.