Dirty Jobs OC Edition: Anaheim City Manager

This is article by Dan Chmielewski is cross-posted from TheLiberalOC.com:

I’m not a fan of reality TV, but there’s a show called “Dirty Jobs” (now cancelled by The Discovery Channel) that documented truly awful jobs people do — like “Road Kill Cleaner” or “Zoo Cage Cleaner.”  Jobs that usually involve excrement, dirt, sweat, terrible heat or freezing cold; a job that offers no respect and you need to shower after work instead of before it.

In Orange County, that job belongs to whoever is Anaheim’s City Manager.

Paul Emery is the current unappreciated occupant of the chair and with a new council majority in place, there’s a chance he’ll be axed due to demands of the pro-Tait crowd.  The Voice of OC reports that Emery may be on his way out.

From the story (titles added referenced earlier in the story):  “The shift could also mean a shakeup of the city’s top leadership. (Mayor Tom) Tait has often clashed with city officials, accusing them of manipulating budget numbers to inflate the resort district’s contributions to the budget and downplay the impacts of hotel subsidies.

At recent council meetings, some residents have called for the new council to fire City Manager Paul Emery as one of their first acts.

Neither Tait nor (Council member-elect Jose) Moreno would say whether they will push to replace top city staff – nor did they rule it out.

“I’d want to see a city manager who shares my vision for the city [of] creating a culture of kindness…and focusing on the community,” said Tait.

Even while in the Council minority, finding a city manager who shares Tait’s vision of “kindness” is a laughable thing.  Tait’s not kind at all to any city manager under his tenure as Anaheim’s mayor. Since Tait was elected in 2010, Anaheim has had four city managers and perhaps a fifth is in place.  There are rumors that a past City Manager filed personnel complaints against the Mayor for verbal abuse — documents shielded from public view due to the personnel nature of the complaint.

But if Tait wants a city manager to have a vision of a “culture of kindness” perhaps he ought to practice what he preaches.

Here’s the breakdown:

Since Mayor Tait was first elected in 2010, Anaheim City Managers include:

Tom Wood, June 2009 – November 2011

Bob Wingenroth, Interim: November 2011 – June 2012;Permanent: June 2012 – June 2013

Marcie Edwards, Interim: May 2013 – July 2013; Permanent: July 2013 – February 2014

Paul Emery, Interim: February 2014 to July 2015;Permanent: July 2015 to current

Having a city manager in place for a long haul provides a measure of  stability for Anaheim City Hall staff.



  1. The rumor I heard was that the council majority pushed many of those managers out not Tait. Guess it depends on which kool-aid one drinks.

    • You heard wrong.

      Tom Wood’s ouster was Tom Tait’s doing. It’s my understanding Wingenroth really didn’t like all the conflict (plus he was probably in over his head a little). Marcie Edwards left for what would be her dream job – an easy choice given the circumstances she was working in. But if the environment in City Hall weren’t so toxic, she might have stayed.

      If Paul Emery is given the boot, it’s going to be Tait’s foot in the boot. It would be better to give him the opportunity to work with the new council instead of using him as an very expensive scapegoat. Does anyone think Anaheim is going to be attracting top-quality candidates clamoring for the chance to be Anaheim’s 5th city manager in 6 years? Do those plotting Emery’s ouster even care? The French Revolution is a poor management model.

      • Anaheim can’t draw a large amount of qualified candidates for city attorney. If they fire Emery, it will be the same. Most don’t want to work for Anaheim and the unkind Mayor.

    • Jason, you are clueless about so much. Go back to kneeling before the altar of Tait. You are dumb as……

  2. Simple solution. Hire OC’s smartest, most honest an ethical public servant Dave Zenger to do the job. He’s been basically unemployed since 2013 because he can’t shut up about how smart he is. Plus, he’ll give Tait foot rubs for the opportunity.

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