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By Lillian Boyd

The City of Fontana has selected Dana Point City Manager Mark Denny to be its new city manager.

Fontana Herald News reported on Wednesday, Feb. 26 that Fontana City Council approved the hire in a 3-1 vote during closed session on Feb. 25.

Mark Denny

Prior to his positions as Deputy City Manager and City Manager with Dana Point, Denny held other leadership roles, including Chief Operating Officer for the County of Orange for three years, the Director of OC Parks for more than six years and has also worked for private companies.

Denny previously told Dana Point Times he knew he wanted to be involved with politics after completing an internship in Washington, D.C. that got him interested in policy. Also having enjoyed the ocean since childhood, combining the two interests for a role on Dana Point’s City Council seemed like a natural fit.

His first role in California government was a position to work with former Assemblyman William J. Campbell while he was on the Orange County Board of Supervisors.

“I love the people I work with (at City of Dana Point),” Denny said. “It’s an awesome staff, great attitude, great professionals . . . that’s what I’ll miss the most.”

Dana Point City Council held a special closed session Wednesday, Feb. 26 at 6 p.m. City Attorney Patrick Munoz reported after that council voted, 3-2, to pursue a city manager contract with Mike Killebrew, the assistant city manager. Mayor Pro Tem Jamey Federico brought forth the motion, with Councilmember Joe Muller and Mayor Richard Viczorek voting in favor and councilmembers Debra Lewis and Paul Wyatt dissenting.

“We’re disappointed to be losing Mark Denny, but we’re extremely thankful for his service and wish him the best,” Federico told Dana Point Times. “We’re lucky to have the opportunity to promote from within and hire Mike Killebrew.

Wednesday evening’s vote is not a finalization of Killebrew’s promotion, as that vote would need to be made in open session. If Killebrew moves forward in serving as city manager, he would be the first resident chosen to lead the city, according to the city’s news release, after living in Dana Point for 21 years.

“He’s a long-standing positive influence on the city staff and in the community, and he’ll continue on the great path that we’re on,” Federico said. “We could have undergone a long and expensive recruiting process, but I’m convinced we would have ended up with the same conclusion. It’s good for the city that we made the decision tonight for a seamless transition.”

Prior to joining City of Dana Point, Killebrew served as Chief Financial Officer, Controller and as an auditor for the City of Long Beach.

Dana Point Times reached out to both councilmembers Wyatt and Lewis for comment on their “no” votes.

“I will explain my reasons for voting no at the appropriate time, rather than trying to condense it into a short newspaper quote,” Lewis said.

Wyatt stated he had hoped council could methodically put together a list of requirements for a city manager prior to seeking a replacement.

“The majority of council felt we had the best available option in-house and preferred that over taking the time and costs to recruit outside the city. But Dana Point is a great city, and we’ll continue to be great,” Wyatt said.

City council will hold its next regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, March 3 at 6 p.m. Denny’s last day with City of Dana Point will be April 3.

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