[Editor’s note: This article has been updated with comments from Signal Hill City Manager Charles Honeycutt]
Combined, Long Beach City Manager Patrick West and Signal Hill City Manager Charles Honeycutt have 46 years of experience working between the two cities– Honeycutt with 32 and West with 14– but this week, both city managers have announced that they are stepping away from their leadership roles.
West announced Sunday that he will leave effective next month to work in the private sector. Honeycutt submitted a letter of resignation on Monday to the Signal Hill City Council.
“Being a part of this great diverse city has been an honor for me. I have seen so much positive change and innovation in the last decade, and it amazes me how much is being accomplished every day,” West stated in a press release. “All these accomplishments would have not been possible without the leadership of the mayors, councilmembers and other elected officials I have had the pleasure of working with over the years, and the commitment of department directors and dedication of all our fantastic city staff. I’m excited to step aside and make way for new leadership, and to take the next step in my own career.”
West began his career in Long Beach back in 2005 as the executive director of the redevelopment agency and community development director after serving the City of Paramount for 25 years. In 2007, The city council appointed West as the city manager.
Kevin Lee, Long Beach public information officer, told the Signal Tribune the city council will conduct a closed session meeting on Aug. 20 to discuss what the next steps shall be in appointing a new city manager.
According to Long Beach Charter article 3 section 303, the assistant city manager, which Tom Modica currently serves as, shall oversee the city manager’s duties.
Across Long Beach city boundaries, Honeycutt looked back at his 32 years of working with Signal Hill.
“When I joined the city in 1987, Signal Hill was largely undeveloped,” Honeycutt stated in his resignation letter. “The Price Club (now Costco) was only a couple of years old, there were no shopping centers, the vision of the Auto Center was only beginning, the local restaurants were Curley’s, Lidos and The Rib and the hilltop was a wide open space where my children got to explore and tumbleweeds blew in the Santa Ana winds.”
Honeycutt reflected on some stand out achievements he said he was proud to be part of as city manager since he was appointed to the position in 2014.
“The library that we just opened Saturday was clearly one of the most trying projects,” he said. “It was challenging in terms of trying to make it happen– some real personal satisfaction getting over those hurtles.”
Honeycutt pointed out that the Signal Hill Autocenter, the Towne Center East shopping center, the new Signal Hill police station and projects that aided in developing more affordable housing were some of the stand out projects he recalled.
When asked what prompted his retirement, Honeycutt said he felt the city was in a good place for him to step down.
“Instinctively, I felt it was time for me to go” he said. “I was able to be part of the golden era of Signal Hill. It was a good time for transition– the pieces are in place.”
During his retirement, Honeycutt is looking forward to spending more time with family. He added that his daughter was recently engaged and is looking to get married sometime next year.
“I’ve been able to meet so many great people,” Honeycutt said of his time as a city employee. “It’s always been about the community.”
The Signal Hill City Council meeting agenda for Aug. 13 stated that a closed session will be held pertaining public employee appointment of a city manager.
Signal Hill Mayor Lori Woods told the Signal Tribune during a phone call that it is yet to be seen who would take over the soon-to-be vacant position.
“We’ll go through a process in a closed session,” she said. “The city and all our staff in management positions have secession plans in place. It will be a seamless transition.”
Woods said that the announcements from Honeycutt and West are unrelated.
Honeycutt’s last day as Signal Hill’s city manager will be Nov. 1, and West will officially step down from the Long Beach role Sept. 20.