Dear Greg Nyhoff, Oxnard’s new city manager,
We want to welcome you to your new position; it’s been a long time coming since the falling-out over the last city manager and we are certain the City Council and residents are eager to move forward. Given Oxnard’s complex makeup and its recent tainted history, however, we want to give you fair warning that you are up for perhaps one of the biggest tasks of your life. Not only will you be expected, at least in part, to pave the way for Oxnard to reach its potential, but local residents are fed up with mismanagement, lack of transparency and organization, and worst of all, many of them feel betrayed by their local government. It will be up to you under direction of the City Council to steer this ship around, repair burned bridges and instill trust that was lost years ago.
We understand that for you to even be considered for this position, you had to have a past filled with achievements, but we have a feeling this will be a different ballgame for you. Your new city is full of diversity in its people and their socioeconomic status, its industries, current land use and prospects for development. As you well know, it’s the biggest city in Ventura County in population and size; but despite large investments of time and money into creating an identity, all of those efforts have resulted in little for the city and its residents. You will play one of the most significant roles in identifying the city’s strong points, its assets and what truly makes it unique and then building upon those to help the city succeed.
While Oxnard does have an elected mayor, neither the mayor nor the councilmembers are full time staff. You will act as the city’s and the council’s point guard, as it were, and you will not only be the one that the council looks to, but the residents will rely on you to keep the city on track and moving forward. It’s a tough task, but with the debacle surrounding the 2010 raid on City Hall and the subsequent changes on the City Council, we feel that the City Council has made the right choice, that the councilmembers that residents voted to keep in office and also those newcomers will best reflect what is good for the city. Should you prove to be anything but the best, councilmembers may lose their seats; and thus new leadership could put your future at risk. It’s a game of checks and balances and much of this weight will rest on your shoulders.
Now we look to the future with promise, promise that your passion for the job will include ideas to help small businesses grow, big businesses stay in Oxnard, that all residents will be fairly represented, and that dysfunctional ways of running city government will be a thing of the past. We hope that our high expectations as well as those of everyone around you don’t worry you too much, but we will be watching. It’s time for Oxnard to match its size with a highly respected reputation.