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City attorney job hunt goes south

A potential loss for South Lake Tahoe could be Encinitas, California’s gain.

According to San Diego Union-Tribune reporter Dwight Daniels, South Lake Tahoe City Manager Kerry Miller is among the finalists for the position of Encinitas city manager.

The finalist field has narrowed from five to two candidates, and Miller was in the Southern California city on Friday for an interview, Daniels said. “Two (Encinitas City Council) people have said on the record that they’re leaning (Miller’s) way.”



Miller confirmed on Sunday that he had had conversations with the Encinitas City Council about the positions.

“But there is no announcement at this point,” Miller said.




Both South Lake Tahoe Mayor Judy Brown and Mayor Pro tem Tom Davis said they were aware of Miller’s job hunting and were not surprised by the news.

In November 1998, Miller and Mammoth, Calif. officials were talking.

“I’ve been aware for a long time that he’s been looking,” Brown said. “Any city that would snag him would be very, very lucky.”

Davis said he had encouraged Miller to look around for opportunities.

“I’d hate to lose him, but, in as much as he can advance himself, I’m glad for him.”

Miller, with 12 years in one spot, has outlasted the average California city manager. According the League of California Cities, the average term for a city manager in the state is 5.6 years, with the trend going to shorter stays. In rural Northern California towns, which would include South Lake Tahoe, the average stay is only 4.4 years.

A move to Encinitas would be a step up for Miller. The Encinitas position offers a salary of about $120,000, compared to Miller’s current salary of $96,000. Encinitas, a beach town near San Diego, has a population of 60,000 clustered in five distinct areas, which each elect a city council member.

It wouldn’t necessarily be a quiet job. The previous city manager, Lauren Wasserman, was ousted by the City Council in February, Daniels said. And the battle for dollars allotted to the five districts can become hot.

Should Miller get, and accept, the job, he could face similar issues as he has in South Lake Tahoe.

Environmental issues are picking up steam in the beach community, where some homes teeter on the edge of unstable shorelines.

Formerly the “flower capital of the world,” Encinitas is also looking to stimulate redevelopment and beef up tourism.

“Some of the most beautiful beaches in the world are here,” Daniels said, “and no one knows they’re here.”

Considering the recent battles at South Shore to secure tourism promotion dollars from room tax revenues, Miller could have a few ideas to try out.


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