After 10 months and interviews with more than 20 candidates, Malibu's leaders have chosen a city manager--from the ranks of the consulting firm hired to conduct the search.
The City Council on Tuesday approved the hiring of Raymond B. Taylor, 42, a former city manager of Rolling Hills Estates, to fill the $85,000-a-year post. The vote was 4 to 0, with Councilman Mike Caggiano absent.
"It's great to have someone of his caliber that all of us can agree on," Mayor Walt Keller said.
Taylor, a vice president of Norman Roberts & Associates, will start to work in Malibu on July 15, the mayor said. He emerged as a candidate three weeks ago after none of the four finalists the council had considered for the job gained unanimous support.
"I think we finally got the perfect match," Councilwoman Missy Zeitsoff said.
Before joining the consulting firm last year, Taylor held the Rolling Hills Estates job for five years. Before that he was the assistant city manager for four years. He also served briefly as city manager of Ojai.
His boss, Norman Roberts, said he knew all along that Taylor was "just the man Malibu was looking for" but hesitated to suggest him because of his association with the firm.
"It was an awkward situation, but it had a happy ending for Malibu," Roberts said. "Ray is ideal for the job."
Taylor, who was vacationing with his family, was unavailable for comment.
Roberts said Taylor was not involved in the search process involving the previous candidates.
"It was just one of those unusual situations," he said. "It was clear (the City Council wasn't) ready to choose any of the other candidates. I said, 'I almost hate to mention it, but I've got someone I think is just the man you're looking for.' "
Several council members said they were impressed with Taylor's low-key approach to problem-solving, and said that his experience in Rolling Hills Estates--an affluent South Bay community--made him well-suited for the job.
The hiring of Taylor ends a long, often troubled search for a full-time manager.
At least twice, the council came close to filling the post but backed off after failing to achieve unanimous consent.
"We've sort of operated on the premise that all of us should agree on the choice if we're to start things off right," Councilwoman Carolyn Van Horn said. "It's a real delight that everyone is enthusiastic about Ray Taylor."
Another person who was delighted with the selection of Taylor was interim City Manager Bruce Sprague, 57, who has become a popular figure in Malibu since he agreed to fill the post temporarily last August.
Sprague, who was city manager of Southgate for 8 1/2 years before retiring last year, said he and his wife plan to move to Florida.