Santa Ana City Council members said Monday that it will be at least six months--after the November municipal election--before they select a replacement for City Manager Robert C. Bobb.
Bobb on Saturday announced his departure for the post of city manager in Richmond, Va., and with Santa Ana City Hall awash in rumors about candidates for the top post, the council met in closed session with Bobb on Monday afternoon.
Afterwards, council members declined to say what had transpired. Mayor Dan Griset said he did not anticipate a decision on an interim city manager for at least two weeks, adding that he wanted "everything to settle down" first.
Griset said he doesn't "want to go on record about any candidate, permanent or temporary, for city manager." Bobb, 41, will get a $26,000 raise over his current salary when he takes the $110,000-a-year Richmond post. He said he will leave Santa Ana July 7.
Vice Mayor P. Lee Johnson, when asked who the leading candidates are for the Santa Ana job, said only, "There aren't any. It's premature to even speculate on it." Johnson said he expects the council to take no action before the election.
In the interim, Johnson said, the council will appoint a temporary city manager and begin a recruitment process that will probably involve hiring a firm to conduct a nationwide search for candidates, screening down to the top three, then another round of interviews by the council.
Councilman John Acosta said the people who he believes will be considered for the interim position are the three deputy city managers--Rex Swanson (development), Jan C. Perkins (operations) and Raymond C. Davis (police and fire) and community development director David Ream. Another city official said City Atty. Edward J. Cooper is also a possible candidate for the interim post.
Acosta said he will also request that whoever is named to the temporary job be removed from consideration for the permanent post so that accusations of favoritism in the selection process can be avoided.
Acosta also said he had heard rumors that former City Manager A. J. Wilson might be among the candidates for the permanent job, noting that Wilson will be living in a home in Mission Viejo this summer. Wilson resigned in 1983 after three years to become city manager of Kansas City, Mo., a job he resigned the next year.
Acosta said he would oppose Wilson's return.
Wilson, reached at his home in Kansas City on Monday, said that he is working as a consultant on city government and that his move to Mission Viejo is unrelated to Bobb's resignation. When asked if he might apply for the position, Wilson said, "I can't imagine going backwards, but I don't really know. . . . I haven't given it any thought."