This article was updated to include comments from LaForge.
San Juan Bautista City Manager Michaele LaForge submitted a two-week notice of resignation on Friday, Feb. 22. LaForge was not immediately available for comment.
A special meeting of the San Juan Bautista City Council is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 25, during which the city will consider appointing an interim city manager in closed session. According to the meeting agenda (see document at bottom of article), LaForge is expected to receive a performance evaluation, also in closed session.
LaForge told BenitoLink via email she got a “personal request” to work with friends from the Naval Academy.
“They need my help,” LaForge said. “I am known as a change agent in [the] industry. A person that comes in and rescues a situation and gets things humming. I feel I have done that in SJB, and feel I can turn over the keys now.”
LaForge said her experience serving the community for 15 months was a positive one, which included working with city staff, residents, volunteers and staff at the Mission San Juan Bautista.
The decision by LaForge shocked some council members.
“It came as a surprise, however while she was here she did a great job,” Councilman Dan De Vries said, who confirmed the resignation. De Vries told BenitoLink on Feb. 23 that he was made aware of the city manager’s intent to resign through LaForge’s two-week notice she submitted on Friday.
De Vries said that LaForge’s two-week notice did not state where she will work next or the date of her last day in public office. Though if LaForge stays in the position another two weeks, her last day would be March 8.
Vice Mayor Mary Edge said she is both sad and happy to see LaForge leave.
She said that while LaForge is a lovely person and was “good for us for a little while,” the city must keep going and find a replacement.
Mayor Cesar Flores did not immediately respond to BenitoLink’s request for comment. Flores recently spent time with LaForge at a conference with Gov. Gavin Newsom regarding San Juan Bautista being noncompliant with state housing requirements.
LaForge began her role as assistant city manager in Dec. 2017 before being promoted about a month later. Interim city manager Ed Tewes led the search for a permanent manager after the abrupt resignation of Roger Grimsley in Aug. 2017.
“If the city starts misfiring, please call my cell,” LaForge said. “You never know, I just may have finished my work elsewhere.”
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