LAGUNA BEACH, CA – After 20 years of service to the City of Laguna Beach, City Manager John Pietig is announcing he will retire in June. The advance notice is intended to provide the City with time to prepare for an orderly transition of City administration to the next City Manager.
Mr. Pietig’s career in local government has spanned 32 years. He has served the City of Laguna Beach for twenty years - first as Assistant City Manager for 10 years, then as City Manager for the last 10 years.
“The City of Laguna Beach is an extraordinary place,” Pietig said. “Our community is involved, aware and very engaged. Together, with the City Council and the City team, we have worked hard to preserve what makes this City so special while also moving forward and acting fiscally responsible in both good and challenging times. It is truly an honor and privilege to serve this special community!”
During two decades of public service to Laguna Beach, Mr. Pietig has managed the City through the COVID-19 pandemic, wildfires, various floods and landslides. During his tenure, the City achieved historically low crime rates, addressed homelessness, and navigated recessions, while maintaining the City in sound financial condition. Pietig also worked with the City team to improve transit and parking systems, increase fire prevention programs, enhance communication with the community, and address long-range planning needs through the Downtown Specific Plan, historic preservation programs and short-term lodging.
Mr. Pietig is particularly proud of the City’s current management team. “This team is performing cutting-edge work in pandemic response, wildfire prevention, crime reduction, transit and parking management, land use planning, virtual City meetings, Leadership Laguna programs, and community dialogue,” Pietig said. “Our City team has exhibited an incredible commitment to serving the public on the front lines of the pandemic. Serving alongside these dedicated public employees has been a highlight of my career.”
Mr. Pietig has also taken leadership roles in numerous large-scale public improvements, including completion of the Village Entrance project, retaining Mission Hospital and its emergency room in the City, renovating Heisler Park, completing a walking and biking trail to the fire road between Top of the World and Arch Beach Heights, and construction of a new Lifeguard Headquarters facility at Main Beach.
“All of these challenges could not have been addressed without support from past and present City Council members willing to take the actions necessary to overcome them, along with numerous members of the community who donated their time to serve on boards, commissions, committees and other volunteer programs,” Pietig said, and noted that he is especially appreciative of Mayor Whalen’s collaboration over the last couple of years to address the challenges facing the community.
“Laguna Beach has benefitted tremendously from John’s years of experience, his technical expertise, his work ethic, his understanding of our community and his steady hand in challenging times,” said Laguna Beach Mayor Bob Whalen. “John also is an excellent judge of talent. While he will be missed greatly, he will leave behind a motivated and experienced group of professionals who will keep us moving forward.”
Mr. Pietig started his career with the City of Riverside for 10 years, followed by two years with the City of Alhambra, before accepting a position with the City of Laguna Beach. Pietig will retire at a date to be determined in June 2021.