NEEDLES, CA – By a unanimous vote Tuesday night the Needles city council approved a three year contract with its new city manager, Rick Daniels. Daniels leaves a position in Desert Hot Springs where he lasted six years.
Needles Council Member Linda Kidd said after interviews with three potential candidates that Daniels appeared to be the best choice. She said she has personally “heard wonderful things about him” and that she had received “a ton of email in support of him.”
“We wanted someone that has the background of going out and finding money,” she said. “We liked what he had done in Desert Hot Springs. Sometimes it takes new eyes to see things.”
Needles Mayor Ed Paget had a few days before the vote encouraged the council members to do additional background research of Daniels indicating he has reservations about the selection. On Needles city council the mayor does not vote. Paget was only offering a recommendation.
“I understood we were a little tight with money; now I understand we may be spending quite a little money to bring in another person.” said Paget. This person has been presented as someone who would make his own salary. I hope they’re right about that. He certainly comes highly recommended by the present mayor at Desert Hot Springs,” Paget concluded.
“Of course there are always two sides,” said Kidd. “People have different opinions but I feel good with our choice.
The problems that Rick Daniels is leaving behind in Desert Hot Springs did not hurt the new city manager’s earnings. The contract with the city of Needles pays Daniels $197,000 with an increase of $10,000 in a year. Daniels contract with Desert Hot Springs was to be $195,000 next year.
Rick Daniels new responsibilities also includes that of Director of Public Utilities for the city of Needles.
Rick Daniels departure from Desert Hot Springs finds the city in a search for an interim city manager. According to a city press release, the city council was accepting applications for the interim position through yesterday. There has been no word on how many candidates have applied or who has applied.
In speaking with officials of Desert Hot Springs it is not clear what exactly is the last day of work for Rick Daniels in Desert Hot Springs except that he is leaving sometime in early September.
Officials in Needles were unable to say what exact day Rick Daniels begins his new job.
For over 40 years Dean has been published in a variety of small newspapers and magazines. As publisher he founded an alternative city weekly newspaper in 2008 and published over 200 uninterrupted issues over 4 years to over 20,000 readers via 800 locations (and online) before selling the business. Now online with over 3 million readers worldwide.
Dean is a Master Carpenter and the author of the biography of Hilda M Gray, desert homesteader. He served as Planning Commissioner for the city of Desert Hot Springs from January 2014 to January 2015 when he resigned.
Dean M Gray is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors and lives in Palm Desert, California.