Unstableheim: Asst. City Manager Kristine Ridge Leaving For Laguna Niguel City Manager Post

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Anaheim Insider here.

The exodus of talent and experience from Unstableheim City Hall continues as Assistant City Manager Kristine Ridge departs to become City Manager of Laguna Niguel. Ridge will take the reins of the South County city in January 2018.

Anaheim city government is a financially healthy, billion dollar enterprise in a city that is home to iconic Disneyland and the world-class Anaheim Resort; one of the largest and newest convention centers in the nation; and two major league sports franchises – the Angels and the Ducks. Plus, the city manager position is open. But the comparatively civil and normal atmosphere of bedroom community Laguna Niguel is a more attractive option.

That speaks volumes about the state of things in the City of Kindness.

The City of Laguna Niguel issued a press release yesterday announcing the Laguna Niguel City Council is expected to formally appoint Ridge to the position at its meeting this Tuesday (the Anaheim City Council also meets that night):

On Tuesday, November 21, 2017, the City Council of Laguna Niguel is expected to name Kristine Ridge as City Manager. This decision will conclude a nationwide executive recruitment search conducted by Dave Morgan of Ralph Andersen and Associates that resulted in attracting over 50 qualified applicants.

The City Manager implements the policies established by the City Council and has full management responsibility for all City services and activities. Kristine is uniquely poised to assume the top leadership position among City employees due to her demonstrated success in managing complex programs, extensive understanding of fiscal management, ability to manage large projects, and commitment to transparent government and continuous improvement. Kristine Ridge is currently the Assistant City Manager of Anaheim and is responsible for coordination of many municipal initiatives and providing executive supervision over a number of City departments. She serves as liaison for all major developments and oversees strategic planning and labor relations. Kristine began her career as an auditor, steadily gaining experience with appointments as City Auditor, City Treasurer, Finance Director, Human Resources Director and Deputy City Manager for the City of Anaheim.

“Kristine’s 29-year distinguished public service career, with the last 24 years in multiple high level positions with the City of Anaheim, as well as her talent for creating solutions will make her an outstanding City Manager for Laguna Niguel,” said Mayor Fred Minagar. “We know that Kristine will continue our City’s tradition of high quality service and commitment to conservative financial policies.”

“I’m honored to be given the opportunity to serve the City of Laguna Niguel,” said Kristine. “I look forward to working with the Mayor and City Council, City Departments, and the community. Laguna Niguel is truly a gem offering an exceptional quality of life for its residents and businesses, and I am excited to be a part of securing a bright future for this vibrant and attractive community. ”

Remember, Anaheim is (supposedly) recruiting for a permanent city manager and Ridge is and should be an obvious choice given she has greater breadth of operational and management experience than anyone else in Anaheim city government. Ridge’s departure is true testament to the dysfunction and low morale in Unstableheim City Hall in the era of “The People’s Council.”

As one City Hall insider put it: “A quarter century of institutional knowledge is walking away due to an environment under this mayor and his council allies that makes it impossible for an ethical, competent professional to do their job.”

Among other things, Anaheim is grappling with a severe homelessness crisis, and is in the midst of trying to implement the ambitious Operation Home S.A.F.E. program to reclaim city parks and the Santa Ana River Trail for their intended public recreation uses. In addition to her other duties, Ridge has been in charge of Anaheim’s homelessness initiatives.

It’s no exaggeration to say Ridge’s departure leaves a gaping hole in City Hall leadership. No other senior staffer comes close to her breadth of operational experience.

To recap, Anaheim City Hall is led by an:

  • Interim City Manager
  • Acting Police Chief
  • Acting City Attorney
  • Acting City Clerk
  • Interim Deputy Planning Director
  • Acting Human Resources Director

Now the city is losing its second-in-command and only top staffer without the qualifier “Interim” or “Acting” in front of his/her title.

Laguna Niguel has chosen wisely. Unstableheim becomes more unstable. The “People’s Council” is still trying to figure out what the people want.


  1. When the crick drys up and the little critters seek refuge in greener hollows, it’s time for the big dogs to up and find a better place to hunt. Good Luck, Kris. 🏆

  2. More instability. Tait said he wanted change and he sure got it. Most management positions are interims and city management is in complete turmoil. With Tait at the wheel, Anaheim is headed over a cliff.
    Every smart and talented manager has left or in on their way out. For a city of kindness, why is it few want to work there? Maybe Tait should practice what he preaches.

  3. Losing Kristine Ridge is a disaster. I’m not sure Anaheim can survive any more kindness from Tait and Moreno.

  4. Kristine Ridge was the best Anaheim had, I will miss her for many reasons, but the city is losing a HUGE key person. I do not understand why every single high powered position has been run out, but it says quite a bit on how our city is being run right now. I wish her luck and wish she was staying with Anaheim, all we will do is watch Laguna Niguel flourish with her and sit back and watch the chaos of Anaheim keep getting worse.
    We will miss you Kristine.

    Thank you for your help.

  5. Has anyone considered they may be paving the way for Mishal Montgomery to become Assistant City Manager??

  6. Oh, but wackAMole – please dont forget that Jose Moreno pushed hard for Mike Matsuda to be superintendent in the elementary school district and when that failed got Matsuda the job as superintendent in anaheim union. Matsuda could not have been more unqualified. Only a couple of years of junior high teaching, never an administrator on any campus, not a director, never an assistant superintendent. These guys are intoxicated by power and love to select unqualified lackies that will do exactly what they tell them to do even if its exactly wrong.

  7. Isn’t District 3 Jose Moreno’s district?
    District 3

    November 18, 2017 at 3:32 pm

    Losing Kristine Ridge is a disaster. I’m not sure Anaheim can survive any more kindness from Tait and Moreno.

  8. I am glad Colonist Teacher called out Matsuda. He is perfect example of the type of incompetent governance we get from Tait/Moreno. They tried to appoint Quezada interim city manager even with his history of poor leadership and mismanagement. They settled for a department head that oversees 5 employees.

  9. I was at the District 5 forum on homelessness last week and watched Moreno’s appointee to his homeless working group, Mike Robbins, verbally assault Kristine Ridge and call her a murderer – blamed her for every homeless death in Orange County and said he was glad she was run out of town. And any of us have to wonder why she’s leaving Anaheim under this “people’s council”

  10. I noticed my comments about Quezada and Andal’s alleged dating relationship got edited and deleted. Maybe the Anaheim Blog, Voice of the OC or the OCR should do a story about the corruption and shady appointments of Tait/Moreno. Tait is appointing people that will not oppose his idiotic agenda.

  11. This is terrible. thanks Moreno and Tait. Unstableheim…..

  12. David Michael Klawe

    And today, the City of Santa Ana has agreed to hire Ms. Ridge from Laguna Niguel to become its City Manager. She got a three-year contract worth an estimated $388,616 a year, including pay and benefits.

    The OC Register reports about her time at Laguna Niguel….

    >>Her achievements during her 15-month tenure have included appointing three executive-level employees, transitioning a new city attorney, initiating an economic development plan to attract amenities desired by the community and overseeing construction of the new community center at Crown Valley Park.<<

    It is a true shame that Mayor Tait and those in charge at the time made Ms. Ridge leave Anaheim. I think she would have made a great city manager for Anaheim.

    I wish her luck at Santa Ana, she will have her hands full, especially for the rest of the year with a 6 person council. (One seat is Vacant until November, when a replacement will be voted on).

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