Kim Summers was sworn in as Murrieta’s new city manager at the city council meeting, July 18.
It was her first council meeting since taking on her new position, though she has been working as city manager since the beginning of July.
Summers was sworn in by county Supervisor Chuck Washington, who is a former mayor and councilmember of both Murrieta and Temecula.
Washington said it was his first time ever administering the oath of office.
“So I consider it a great honor that the council and the mayor allowed me to do this and that Kim wanted me here to do this,” he said.
Even in her position as Murrieta’s highest-ranking city employee, it was still an anxious moment for Summers.
“Are you nervous?” Washington asked her.
“I am,” she responded.
Murrieta Mayor Rick Gibbs said he thought it was appropriate for Washington to conduct the swearing-in because he has history working for the city but is not a current councilmember.
“It struck me that it shouldn’t be anybody who’s sitting on the current council, either the mayor or the councilmembers, to swear in Ms. Summers because she works for us,” Gibbs said.
The councilmembers had plenty of kind words for Summers during the ceremony.
Gibbs said before her hiring, a plan of succession for outgoing City Manager Rick Dudley was a priority, and when Summers was hired as assistant city manager, the city council knew she would be a candidate to lead the city of Murrieta in just a few short years.
Councilman Alan Long said, knowing this he had a lot to say during the hiring process for assistant city manager. Though the responsibility for hiring an assistant city manager rested with Dudley, Long said the now retired city manager came to him to ask what kind of person he believed would best fit the organization.
“When he chose Kim, I didn’t know,” Long said. “And he came to me, and he didn’t mention names, but he said, ‘here are the attributes that this person holds.’ And I’m telling you, he nailed it. Kim is exactly what our organization needs for the time and the era that we are in.”
“When Kim was hired four years ago, clearly the city manager intended that he was going to retire someday,” Gibbs said. “And he groomed Kim as best he could. He did a fantastic job of bringing this lady and making sure she had experience doing everything he was capable of doing.”
Gibbs said when it came time to select a replacement for Dudley, the decision was easy for the council.
“Every one of us on the council, when we met in closed session to talk about who would replace Rick Dudley, it took all of us about 10 minutes to come to the conclusion, vote on it and announce it at that meeting,” Gibbs said. “And that’s a tribute to Kim’s fortitude, her intelligence and her ability to get things done.”
“She’s my city hall wife, her and (Executive Assistant Rosa Vega),” Councilman Jonathan Ingram said. “They keep me in line and make sure that I’m not late for my appointments. She’s been a best friend to me. A dear friend to me. And I’m glad that she has taken the opportunity to serve our city. I think you’re gonna find that this person will give a great deal of passion and that she will be there for all of us.”
The council’s high praise for the new city manager, who said in a recent interview she expects to stay on until her retirement in nearly a decade, also comes with high expectations.
“We expect great things from you, Kim. Congratulations,” Gibbs said, while most of the council reiterated his statement.
Gibbs said the idea to hold a swearing-in ceremony for Summers was that of administrative services director Linda Le. City managers are not ordinarily recognized in this fashion.
The council also presented Summers with a bouquet of flowers and held a brief reception after the ceremony, complete with red velvet cupcakes, which Gibbs said city workers put their money together to pay for.
The reception was a surprise for Summers, who said the council wouldn’t let her into the lobby before the meeting.
Summers said in a recent interview she hopes to stay on at the city of Murrieta until her retirement in about eight years. She was hired as Murrieta assistant city manager in 2014 and selected to be the city’s newest city manager in April.