Assistant City Manager Ready | Elaine Aguilar Gets Tapped to Serve

South Pasadena City Council moving fast to get on track

PHOTO: City of South Pasadena | News | A new art gallery is scheduled to open at South Pasadena City Hall.

Elaine Aguilar, a former interim South Pasadena city official, will be appointed at Wednesday’s City Council as the city’s Interim Assistant City Manager. News | Elaine Aguilar

Aguilar will serve during the absence of Finance Director Karen Aceves, who left the city suddenly last month on an “extended family medical leave,” according to the city. That left the Finance Department “short-handed during a critical need period to complete the audits, the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report and the FY 2020/2021 budget.”

The move comes a day after the city announced the “retirement” of City Manager Stephanie DeWolfe and the immediate appointment of Fire Chief Paul Riddle to serve as Acting City Manager.

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The city did not announce the impending appointment of Aguilar, but quietly added it to the already posted agenda for Wednesday’s city council session, when it will also consider membership requirements for a new ad hoc finance committee.

“It is anticipated that this temporary appointment to an open position …will not exceed four to six months, given the anticipation that Director Aceves may return from leave and the City may complete recruitment of a new City Manager,” according to the revised agenda report. Aguilar will be paid at a rate of $87.66 per hour and receive other benefits. Because of her status as retired California government employee, the appointment will also require the approval of CalPERS.

“Ms. Aguilar possesses the specialized skills and institutional knowledge required to serve as the Interim Assistant City manager during the recruitment process and provide short-term training and mentoring, as necessary, to the Acting City Manager and to ensure transition and continuity of critical services through a newly recruited and appointed full time City Manager,” according agenda materials. She “is familiar with the operations of a small, full-service city with a water utility.”

Aguilar served as Interim City Manager for several months in 2017 after the departure of former City Manager Sergio Gonzales. She retired for a second time when DeWolfe was hired in November of that year. Her 30-year career in government included 10 years as city manager in the city of Sierra Madre which, like South Pasadena, has a water utility.


Ben Tansey
Ben Tansey is a journalist and author. He grew up in the South Bay and is a graduate of Evergreen State College. He worked in Washington State as a reporter in a rural timber community and for many years as an editor for a Western electric energy policy publication based in Seattle.