ROLLING HILLS — Terrence L. Belanger, who has held administrative and executive posts with several California cities since 1969, was named city manager this week by the City Council.
Belanger, 41, who was a consultant to the Pasadena city manager, was given a three-year contract at $48,000 a year and began work immediately. This gated residential city of 2,000 has been without a permanent city manager since the death of Joseph P. Leach in May.
"The council was unanimous in choosing Belanger," said Mayor Tom Heinsheimer, who said the council interviewed "more than a dozen" people for the job. He said the city has a small staff and the city manager "must be qualified in several areas."
Belanger's career includes experience in insurance and managing recreation, grants and public works projects. He was chief administrator in Brea in Orange County in 1981-82 and assistant city manager in Union City near Oakland in 1976-77.
Belanger said his first priority will be the city's 5-year old Flying Triangle landslide. The city, along with Los Angeles County and the county Flood Control District, is facing 16 liability lawsuits from people whose property has been damaged by the slide. Rancho Palos Verdes recently sent form letters declaring that continued movement of the Flying Triangle slide poses a threat to the city's effort to stabilize its own slides in Portuguese Bend, which lies below the Rolling Hills slide area.
"The intent of this letter is not merely to place you on notice of these hazards but to request your cooperation in reducing the risk created by their continued existence," the letter read.
It was sent to Rolling Hills, the Community Assn., which maintains the city's private road system, and Flying Triangle residents. Rancho Palos Verdes officials denied that the letter is a threat to sue Rolling Hills if it does not act, but some in Rolling Hills interpreted it that way.
Belanger said he wants to form a team of legal and geological consultants to tackle the slide. "In the near future, we will have a better sense of what is possible, and what it not possible, in terms of the situation," he said.
Belanger said Rolling Hills is a community where people "expect to be able to call or come in and talk to the person in charge," adding, "I believe in an open door."
He received a bachelor of arts degree in political science in 1971 from California State University, Fullerton, and a master's degree in public administration from Cal State Hayward in 1977.
The father of three children ages 11 to 15, Belanger is divorced and lives in Seal Beach.