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Laguna Beach

 Volume 12, Issue 44  |  June 2, 2020

Council raises the ante in Dupuis sweepstakes


The City Council on Tuesday took preemptive action to keep Public Works Director/Assistant City Manager Shohreh Dupuis on the city payroll.

Dupuis was given a $25,000 raise to resist the blandishment and higher salaries from other agencies that want her services. 

“She is being actively recruited by other agencies,” said City Manager John Pietig.

Matt Lawson said the city needs her expertise, although he found it strange to be in disagreement with other conservatives who spoke against the raise. 

“Let her go,” said Jennifer Zeiter.

“No one is irreplaceable,” said Michele Monda. 

However, no one on the council agreed. Nor did Pietig. 

Pietig strongly endorsed the pay raise. Dupuis, he said, is needed to provide continuity for several major projects that are underway and for the management of the Public Works Department.

He also cited her coordination of the Wildfire Mitigation and Fire Safety Report, unveiled earlier in Tuesday’s meeting. 

Pietig went on to enumerate Dupuis’s other responsibilities. 

She oversees the activities of 11 divisions that are in charge of maintaining publicly owned facilities [such as] streets, parks, beaches, buildings, landscaped areas and storm drains. Other duties include upgrading city infrastructure; and engineering, transit, solid waste and recycling services. Street signs are also in her purview. 

Pietig said the recruiters consider her a serious candidate for city manager.

Why then would she stay in Laguna?

“I love this city,” Dupuis said. “I have personal ties to the city, and I enjoy seeing the fruits of my labors. I see it every day. It is important to me.”

Councilman Peter Blake described Dupuis as the smartest, most resilient employee of the city. 

“$25,000 is nothing compared to the cost of replacing her,” Blake said. 

Councilwoman Toni Iseman recalled losing the highly regarded Ben Siegel when he was recruited by another community.

“We didn’t offer him more money,” said Iseman, intimating it was a mistake that should not be repeated. “This is not the time to lose someone with the skill set [Dupuis] has.”

The council voted 5-0 for the raise.

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