It was announced that after less than two years on the job, Alex Meyerhoff resigned his position as the Hemet city manager following a Hemet City Council closed session meeting Aug. 8.
Hemet City Attorney Eric Vail made the announcement as the city council came out of the closed-door session and said that the Hemet police chief will be acting city manager until a replacement can be hired. It is the second time Chief David Brown has sat on the dais as the city’s acting city manager. The first was March 15 after Wally Hill was fired.
Meyerhoff’s letter was accepted by members of the city council with Mayor Pro Tem Michael Perciful, who was in San Francisco, sitting in on the closed session through computer instant messaging.
For weeks, the city council has been sitting in closed sessions, discussing Meyerhoff’s performance review. It was apparent during the regular council meetings there were differences of opinion between him and councilmembers Karlee Meyer and Perciful.
Vail, in announcing Meyerhoff’s letter of resignation, said “the parties recognized that it was time for an amicable separation that is mutually desirable and over time have developed significant differences of opinion concerning management directions of the city and these differences have become reconcilable. The council has accepted Alex Meyerhoff’s resignation.”
Meyerhoff will be on administrative leave until Sept. 7, Vail said. He will be paid two-months’ salary and accrued time off.
“Obviously, the parties have had a good, but trying relationship and they wish the best for Alex and they plan to move forward and that being, Police Chief David Brown will be the acting city manager for the immediate future while the city looks for an interim and hopefully will embark on the process for a permanent city manager,” Vail concluded.
Meyerhoff was hired in January 2015 with a starting salary of $200,000 per year on a five-year contract. He replaced Hill who was fired. Meyerhoff now is on a long list of former Hemet city managers who have either resigned early or were fired.
Meyerhoff has been successful during his almost 20 months on the job that includes seeing the passage of Measure U, a 1 percent sales tax increase that is being designated only for the city’s public safety departments, the first city budget surplus in 11 years and reducing the city’s growing health cost for retiring city employees.
Councilwoman Karlee Meyer on her Facebook page Aug. 9 said, “I appreciate Meyerhoff’s 20 months of service and wish him well in his endeavors. While Meyerhoff was the choice in 2015, many things have changed in the city of Hemet. Moving forward we have an aggressive measure to fight crime, we are at a crossroads for growth and the city must take the lead in becoming efficient with its resources and make strides in the area of public service.
“There are processes that can be streamlined, and this all takes strong leadership. The citizens have been clear on their expectations, and the city council is working together like never before to make these changes happen. We will move forward and strive to bring results to the citizens of Hemet. I encourage everyone to embrace change and look at it as an opportunity to continue to make improvements,” she concluded.
More recently Meyerhoff was criticized for not answering the suggested changes made in a state audit in a timely manner. The audit placed the city on the state controllers list of “at-risk” cities. Measure U will help the city get off the “at risk” status, but more work will have to be done with a new city manager.
Before signing on as the Hemet city manager, Meyerhoff was the community development director in Desert Hot Springs, leaving that position in August after one year. He was previously city manager in the Imperial Valley city of Holtville from 2011-14 and worked in Palm Springs, Coachella, Indio and Twenty-nine Palms.