EL SEGUNDO — Arthur E. Jones, city manager for 18 years before he resigned last May, will be back in office Monday to replace suspended City Manager Nicholas Romaniello until a new chief executive is hired.
The City Council--including recently elected members Harry Robert Anderson and Alan West--voted unanimously in a closed session last week to hire Jones as acting city manager. The council also decided to hire an executive search firm to find a new city manager.
Romaniello, the former planning director who was appointed city manager after Jones resigned for health reasons last May, was suspended April 1 pending an investigation into allegations that he tried to obtain confidential police reports on West. At the time, West and Anderson were council candidates who had vowed to fire Romaniello.
Under the municipal code, a city manager cannot be fired within 90 days after an election, but Thursday's action signals the end of the suspended city manager's tenure.
Firing Attempt Failed
A motion to fire Romaniello before the election failed when City Councilman Carl Jacobson and Mayor Charles (Chip) Armstrong and Le Synadinos--all staunch Romaniello supporters--abstained from voting. When Anderson and West defeated Armstrong and Synadinos on April 8, Romaniello's support on the council dissolved.
Romaniello, 50, could not be reached for comment. He said earlier that he would not "dignify any of the slanderous allegations which have been made against me by responding to them."
Romaniello was not formally notified of the council decision to search for someone to replace him, said Councilman Jack Siadek, who was elected mayor last Tuesday. Romaniello will continue to draw his $65,000-a-year salary until the 90 days runs out in early July.
The permanent city manager will be charged with filling several high-level staff openings, including police chief, parks and recreation director and building and safety director.
"We were fortunate to be able to hire a temporary city manager that's actually an old pro at the job," Siadek said. "This city has come to grinding halt since the problems with the city manager surfaced. With Art's expertise and experience, I'll bet the city will be back into the swing of things in just a couple of weeks."