LA HABRA HEIGHTS – The city is close to hiring a new city manager, who is expected to receive a $24,000 pay raise over what the previous manager made. Council members are not releasing the name, but a contract is expected to be negotiated and approved at a special meeting Dec. 1, said interim City Manager James Ruth. “We were impressed with his skills, his resume, his past accomplishments and what he’s done,” Councilman Brian Bergman said Thursday. “He came to us highly recommended.” Bergman said the city needed to increase its pay for the city manager position. The council last week approved a reorganization plan that will include two new full-time positions and filling a maintenance worker position that was authorized in this year’s budget but is still vacant. The community development director/assistant city manager and associate planner positions will replace two contracts the city has had. The plan also calls for re-establishing the deputy city clerk position in place of a senior administrative secretary. “(The changes) will give the city considerably more continuity and supervision in the development and planning area,” Ruth said. “Between these two positions, the city will gain 1,300 productive hours a year.” Ruth said the city can afford the $42,100 additional cost. That number includes the city manager raise. When approved in June, the city’s budget had projected a $163,348 general fund surplus. Most of the additional revenue is from increased building and planning permits, Ruth said. [email protected] (562)698-0955, Ext. 3022160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week “If we’re going to run a good city, you need quality people,” he said. “You have to stay at a competitive rate. I want the best for the city. I don’t want to hire the second or third string.” Ruth was the one who recommended the still unnamed individual for the city manager job. “He’s a former city manager and has about 40 years of experience in government,” he said. “He’ll be able to hit the decks running.” The city manager’s job became vacant in September when then-City Manager John Hendrickson announced his retirement after nearly four years’ service. The city manager’s position isn’t the only change the city is making.