In some dizzying moves at the top of Seal Beach’s leadership chart this week, the city’s police chief announced his retirement, the interim city manager resigned, an assistant to the city manager was named acting city manager and a new councilwoman took office. Though unrelated, the moves reflect a city in transition.
Perhaps the two most surprising announcements came from Seal Beach Police Chief Jeff Kirkpatrick and interim City Manager Patrick Importuna.
After six years, Kirkpatrick, 58, plans to retire in June.
“I would not change a thing!” Kirkparick said in a written statement Tuesday. “Law enforcement is a noble profession, full of genuine professionals whose greatest wish is to protect and serve. It has been my privilege to serve and lead alongside them!
“I will miss those community and professional people I’ve worked with through the years, and especially the professional men and women of the Seal Beach PD. Many have become good friends. I am confident I have left the police organization better than I found it and look forward to yet another chapter opening in my life with my retirement.
“My future plans include spending a great deal more time with my family, and most especially, my wife, Carolyn. Together, we enjoy travel, golf and boating.”
Kirkpatrick has been popular among city leaders and residents. His pending retirement will leave a vacancy at the top of a police department with a $9.3-million budget and 31 officers, 25 staffers, 10 reserve officers and 350 volunteers. City officials have not yet made any announcements with respect to finding a replacement.
Equally surprising, interim City Manager Patrick Importuna announced plans to step down Monday, giving the city one week’s notice. Importuna took the helm in January following the resignation of then-City Manager David Carmany. While Importuna’s tenure was always meant to be temporary, his upcoming departure caught many by surprise.
In a January interview with Patch, Importuna said he planned to stay in the position for about four months. He did not return calls for comment on Tuesday, but he told the Orange County Register he was leaving to take care of a real estate business he runs in Nevada, where he lives.
This has been Importuna’s second stint as Seal Beach’s interim city manager after filling in for about six months in 2008.
“I come in like the tide. I come in, go out, come in and go back out,” Importuna joked at Monday’s council meeting. “You never know—I might be back again.
“I wish you nothing but the greatest in finding your next city manager,” he added.
In the meantime, Assistant City Manager Jill Ingram will fill in as the city’s acting city manager. Last month, she was promoted from assistant to the city manager to the newly created position of assistant city manager.
The city has invited community input in the search for a new city manager via and online survey.
Also on Monday, City Councilwoman Ellery Deaton took office, representing Old Town and Surfside. Deaton won the runoff election for her seat in November with 826 votes to opponent Joe Kalmick’s 514 votes.
Throughout her six-month-long campaign, Deaton made clear that her priorities include fighting for predominantly open space on the DWP property at 1st Street and Ocean Avenue, ridding Main Street of newspaper stands, and preserving Main Street’s charm.