Seeking to show unity after several months of squabbling, several city council members joined the mayor at Wednesday's announcement. Johnson said the council’s decision was unanimous. And he praised Vina’s work as one of the assistant city managers under former city manager Ray Kerridge, who announced his resignation last month.
Johnson: “He’s worked his way up. He has tons of experience in the public sector. But in the interview process, he really stood out head and shoulders. Don’t let his height fool you.”
The mayor’s reference to Vina not being particularly tall drew a few laughs from the couple-dozen rank-and-file city staff in attendance.
Vina’s task as the official in charge of Sacramento’s day-to-day operations will be far from easy. He’ll have to navigate the city through a $40 million budget deficit and manage controversies in the building and utilities departments – all while avoiding political debates between the mayor and several council members. One of his first challenges will be Thursday morning's special council meeting, when Mayor Johnson’s arena task force reveals which of seven proposals it recommends. Vina says he wants to see a clear vision before moving forward.
Vina: “Today, we’re a long ways from really understanding what is it going to take to bring that vision to reality. That’s what I expect next, is a very good conversation that’s going to take subject-matter experts, staff, city council to engage and figure out if there’s a clear vision.”
The council will now start searching for a permanent city manager – a process that will likely take the rest of the year. Vina says he’ll be a candidate for that job, too.