City of Canyon Lake set to appoint Nicole Dailey as next city manager

Photo provided by the City of Canyon Lake.

The Canyon Lake City Council has identified its top candidate to replace City Manager Chris Mann, who will assume the city manager position in the City of Yucaipa on March 1.

Nicole Dailey has more than 17 years of municipal management experience, most recently serving as deputy city manager for the City of Lake Elsinore.

Dailey’s first day with the City of Canyon Lake will be on February 1 under a short-term consulting agreement that will allow her the opportunity to shadow Mann for one month. A formal employment agreement will be presented to the council for approval on Wednesday, February 8.

“Ms. Dailey comes highly recommended,” Mayor Jeremy Smith said. “She is an experienced, visionary local public sector leader that is passionate about the future of our region and our community. Under Mr. Mann’s leadership, we have built a high-performing organization, and my colleagues and I have no doubt Ms. Dailey is the right fit to ensure we build on our recent success and continue finding thoughtful and innovative solutions to best serve the citizens of Canyon Lake.”

Dailey has worked with some of the top executive leaders in Riverside County. While this will be her first time serving as city manager, she worked for the City of Lake Elsinore in the city manager’s office and with the city council for the past nine years. During this time, she was responsible for various special programs and projects such as community relations, governmental affairs, communications, economic development, and lake water quality.

Some of Dailey’s recent accomplishments included leading the charge to reduce homelessness by nearly 50 percent, coordinating funding and interagency support for long-term water quality projects for Lake Elsinore, and developing the city’s first 20-year strategic plan.

Other notable accomplishments include securing more than $10 million in grants to implement new, innovative solutions for the city, planning and hosting high-profile events, and coordinating the public response to large-scale crisis situations including COVID-19, the Holy Fire and Flood, and the infamous Super Bloom.

“I believe in transparent, honest, and authentic public service that is focused on delivering meaningful solutions that elevate the quality of life for the entire community, Dailey said. 

“I have grown up here in this region, I have friends and family in and around the city, and I consider it an honor to have the support of this dynamic city council that puts its citizens first. I look forward to working with the city’s high-performing team and being a part of this proactive and engaged community.”

Beyond her public sector experience, Dailey currently owns Dailey Strategies, a public affairs and communications consulting business specializing in strategic planning, land development, community engagement, and governmental affairs programs.

Dailey graduated from the Lake Elsinore Unified School District before earning a Bachelor of Arts degree from San Diego State University with a major in communications and a minor in political science. She also earned a Master of Business Administration degree from the Graziadio School of Business and Management at Pepperdine University. 

A resident of Lake Elsinore for the last 32 years, Daily resides with her longtime partner, Justin, and their four children.

“Nicole is going to be a tremendous asset for the City of Canyon Lake,” Mann said. “I have worked with her for many years and know she is going to meet and exceed the goals of the city council while keeping our team united and community-engaged.”

During his tenure, Chris Mann was credited with turning around the finances of Canyon Lake over his four-year stint, professionalizing city staffing and operations, implementing popular quality-of-life programs that 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.

Dailey said she is up to the challenge of filling Mann’s shoes and is “ready, able, and eager to keep the momentum going by getting things done together as a team while remaining focused on upholding a quality life that makes Canyon Lake the premier place to live in Southern California.”

Mayor Smith and Councilwoman Kasey Castillo served as the search committee, and after considering various options and potential candidates, invited Dailey to be interviewed by the council during Closed Session. 

Based on her experience and demonstrated skills, the council agreed to move forward with her selection as the city’s next city manager. Once her employment agreement is approved by the council on February 8, Dailey will be set to officially take over the role of city manager on March 1.


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