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Controversial City Manager of Ventura to Quit

Donna Landeros, who has been on the job eight years, cites friction with the City Council. Some members complained she was too powerful.

June 05, 2003|Sandra Murillo | Times Staff Writer

Citing a lack of support from City Council members, Ventura's city manager announced her resignation Wednesday.

After eight years with the city, Donna Landeros said changes on the council made her job more difficult and less satisfying.

"Wouldn't you like to work for somebody who really thinks you're wonderful?" the 54-year-old Landeros said in an interview Wednesday. "Well, I have seven bosses, and I'd like more than four of them to be happy with me."

Landeros, who will remain through the end of the year, said she had enjoyed support from a majority of council members until a power shift about 1 1/2 years ago.

Landeros, whose job is to implement City Council policies and oversee day-to-day operations, has been criticized for wielding too much power. Some council members have said they felt too dependent on Landeros.

In his reelection announcement Wednesday, Councilman Carl Morehouse alluded to the strain when he boasted of making sure "council is setting policy instead of top management staff."

During her tenure, the city expanded and renovated Foster Library and built the new Avenue Library. The city increased its sales tax base from $13 million in 1995 to $20 million in 2003 and implemented a downtown revitalization and cultural district plan.

Landeros said she had been contemplating her resignation for a while.

During a recent evaluation, Mayor Ray Di Guilio said, several council members raised concerns and Landeros "saw some handwriting on the wall."

Di Guilio said that Landeros' job performance was never a point of contention. The concerns "were not based on performance," Di Guilio said. "Sometimes it's personality, it's the dynamics [of the council], the perception of how the city should be run. It's the sense that the fit doesn't quite match with the elected officials."

Landeros said she plans to travel after officially stepping down at the end of the year. She will either start her own consulting firm or work for another California city or county, she said.

"I love local government," Landeros said. "It's what I've been doing since I graduated college."

The city will begin looking for a new city manager within the next month, Di Guilio said.

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