Mark Winstanley

Seaside City Manager Mark Winstanley at the City Council’s goal-setting session on Friday.

Seaside City Manager Mark Winstanley announced his planned retirement at the end of June 2022. The city manager, who started with Seaside as finance director in September 1985, was named city manager in November 2001.

Over the years his job has encompassed the role of budget officer, human resources manager and staff liaison to the City Council.

“Even though I have nice-colored hair and lots of it, I am getting old. By that time I will be 68 years old,” he said. “That’s long enough to be city manager. It is time for there to be new people that will take on those reins.”

Winstanley’s announcement was made at Saturday’s City Council goal-setting discussion, a biennial event, this year held in a virtual format.

The decision came, he said, as he looked back at the last year when the coronavirus pandemic threatened businesses and the local economy, closing the Seaside Civic and Convention Center, city buildings and restricting the flow of tourism.

“If we had had this conversation a year ago, I would have said there’s no way we could have continued under these circumstances,” he said.

Winstanley outlined some of the challenges the city will likely face in the coming years.

“In the next couple of years you are going to be looking at not the building of streets and the reconstruction of buildings like the convention center or the acquisition of $1 million fire trucks, as much as the construction of electronic ways that we communicate with our constituency,” he said. “The development of more interactive websites, our ability to communicate with our constituents — those are going to be the type of infrastructure you have to deal with.”

Winstanley proposed a timeline for selection of his replacement, which should be underway by December or January, with options to choose internal or external candidates.

Winstanley recommended, Jon Rahl, who was named assistant city manager in April 2018.

“Jon is every bit the talented individual I thought he was and I am even more impressed with him today than I was 2 1/2 years ago when I made the decision to hire him,” he said. “I have no reservations in recommending to you that Jon should be that person. He has ties with the other communities in this county and knows all of the leadership in those different cities. That will serve you remarkably as you move forward.”

The hiring process should be one of the city’s highest goals for the next two years, Winstanley said.

Mayor Jay Barber said planning should begin sooner rather than later. A best-case scenario would include Rahl among the candidates. “I’ll be bringing forward, with Mark’s help, a proposal for a calendar to start succession planning. We have work to do,” the mayor said.

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