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Canyon Lake city manager resigns

Serving as city manager for the City of Canyon Lake since March 2019, Chris Mann announced his resignation on Tuesday. Mann will serve in his new role as city manager for the City of Yucaipa starting March 1. Photo provided by the City of Canyon Lake.

Canyon Lake City Manager Chris Mann announced his resignation today. On Monday evening, the Yucaipa City Council appointed Mann to serve as its next city manager, effective March 1.

Mann, who resides in Yucaipa, has served as city manager for the City of Canyon Lake since March 1, 2019. He is widely credited with turning around the finances of Canyon Lake over his four-year stint here, professionalizing city staffing and operations, implementing popular quality of life programs that have increased General Fund revenue by 31 percent without raising taxes, launching aggressive economic development initiatives, and taking the city’s budget from an $800,000 deficit to a surplus of more than $400,000.

Mann also implemented the creation of the Canyon Lake Fire Department when the council decided to provide those services locally. The Canyon Lake Fire Department went into service on January 1, 2022, saving the city hundreds of thousands of dollars in its first year, providing faster response times than what the city experienced under its previous contract with the County of Riverside, and quickly becoming a source of pride for the community.

“I truly believe Chris Mann is simply the best manager the city has had in its 32-year history,” Mayor Jeremy Smith said. “Our entire council will be sad to see him go, but this opportunity just makes sense for Chris and for the City of Yucaipa. The Yucaipa Council, staff, business community, and residents are going to love working with Chris.”

In his letter of resignation, which was submitted to Mayor Smith and the city council this morning, Mann stated, “Serving as your city manager over the past four years has been nothing less than the highlight of my professional career. I will be forever grateful for the faith you put in me and for giving me the chance to prove myself in this profession.

“Your wise leadership and willingness to do bold (and sometimes difficult) things, enabled us as a cohesive team to establish innovative programs that have improved quality of life in Canyon Lake, to correct a staggering structural budget deficit, to professionalize operations at City Hall, to grow the City’s staff (and thus the level of services we provide to the community) from just four full-time employees to 23 full-time and three part-time employees, to establish the Canyon Lake Fire Department, to bring the Building Department in-house, to greatly expand community services and events, and to accomplish far too many other things to mention here.

“While the decision to accept another opportunity was not an easy one for me, I depart with a sense of pride over all that we have accomplished together, and with confidence that the City of Canyon Lake is on solid financial ground, heading in the right direction, and will continue to be in the capable hands of the talented team of staff we have assembled and the phenomenal leadership of this city council.”

Canyon Lake City Attorney Steven Graham of the law firm Cole Huber LLP was also appointed city attorney for the City of Yucaipa, effective immediately Monday evening. Graham, who has served as city attorney in Canyon Lake since May 2019, will continue in that role. Graham also serves as city attorney for the cities of Indio and Hemet and as general counsel for the Yucaipa Valley Water District and the Idyllwild Fire Protection District.

Mann will continue to serve in his current role through the end of February, and will begin work at the City of Yucaipa on March 1. The City Canyon Lake City Council said it will look to move quickly to find and hire a new city manager. Mayor Smith and Councilmember Kasey Castillo will serve on a search committee to identify candidates for the job and to lead the application and hiring processes.

When the city last searched for a new city manager at the beginning of 2019, the process took about two months. Should there be a gap of time between Mann’s departure and the new city manager starting, Administrative Services Director Mike Borja will act as City Manager, as he did in January and February of 2019.

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