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Banning again looking for a new boss

By in Press Enterprise on May 19, 2017

By Craig Shultz

Banning is again looking for a city manager as Michael Rock — the seventh person to fill the position since early 2014 — is leaving to take the same job in Santa Paula.

Rock submitted his resignation to the City Council on Tuesday, May 16. His last day will be June 15.

“We appreciate his service to the city of Banning and wish him well in his future endeavor,” Mayor George Moyer said in a statement. “The City Council will appoint an acting city manager in the coming weeks and will begin the process of seeking a permanent replacement.”

Rock, 52, appeared to bring some stability to the position when he was hired in November 2015. Banning went through a series of interim and acting managers before he came aboard. He was the first permanent manager since February 2014 — and the seventh person to fill the seat since then.

Under his watch, the city switched to council districts from at-large elections, approved a large housing project that could greatly increase the population and change the look of southern Banning and settled long disputes with the Chamber of Commerce over unpaid utility bills and with Robertson’s Ready Mix over mining fees.

The administrative staff grew as an assistant city manager, director of economic development and public information officer were all hired.

But Rock’s tenure wasn’t without controversy. He was accused of meddling in November’s election by trying to find a candidate to run against incumbent Don Peterson, a boisterous representative who is often on the opposite side of the council majority.

An outside investigation concluded that Rock had not solicited a community member to run against Peterson as a write-in candidate but he had asked another city employee to locate a suitable candidate.

There was no evidence that the unnamed employee followed […]    

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