City of La Quinta Selects New City Manager

City of La Quinta Selects New City Manager
May 22, 2019 Hannah Jones


Jon McMillen, La Quinta’s Longtime Economist, Named New City Manager

Source: Desert Sun

Sherry Barkas, Palm Springs Desert Sun

Jon McMillen, longtime economist for La Quinta, has been named the new city manager, taking over the position on July 1 at a starting base annual salary of $210,000.

The City Council unanimously voted for McMillen in a closed session on Tuesday, city attorney Bill Ihrke said.

McMillen has worked under contract with the city for several years through his business, Tall Man Group – a real estate development analysis group and economic adviser. The city will terminate its contract with Tall Man even though it was set to expire on June 30, Ihrke said.

His starting salary is $3,015.36 less than outgoing City Manager Frank Spevacek now earns. Under the agreement, Ihrke said, McMillen’s is eligible for a raise to $215,000 per year after six months.

McMillen didn’t consider applying for the job at first, until, he said, he was encouraged by some staff members.

“That hit home, and I started asking myself, why not?” he said.  “It’s kind of the capstone to a career.”

He will make La Quinta his home, and as the council was voting on his appointment, McMillen, 53, was receiving word that escrow had just closed on a house he bought.

With Tall Man Group, La Quinta wasn’t the only city he advised, which meant traveling, and he looks forward to being able to focus on one city.

High on the list of challenges is getting SilverRock developed and the Montage and Pendry hotels open.

“Having started that when the land was purchased and now at the point we’re at (with construction), I want to see it through,” McMillen said.

Overall, the city is healthy going into a 2019-20 fiscal year with a balanced budget.

“The city is on a good course on all levels, staffing levels and financial levels,” McMillen said.

The city manager contract and all terms, including an outline of full benefits, will be formalized and voted upon by the council at the June 4 meeting, Ihrke said.

The announcement was met with applause from the council chamber’s audience, mostly city staff members.

McMillen has worked with the city for the past 17 years and has his name on many projects completed and in the works, including SilverRock Golf Resort development, currently under construction, Mayor Linda Evans said.

“We are thrilled to continue that relationship,” Evans said.

The City Council began its search for a new city manager in February after Spevacek announced his plans to retire when his contract expires in June. His current contract ends June 3, but is being extended to June 30, Ihrke said.

While city manager since 2012, Spevacek has worked for the city since March 1988, when his municipal consulting firm, Santa Ana-based RSG, was hired to assist the city with investment of its redevelopment funds and creation of affordable housing.

The city hired Ralph Andersen & Associates to help with the search for a new city manager.