Dana Point’s Deputy City Manager Mark Denny has been appointed to the top executive position nine months after the resignation of longtime city manager Doug Chotkevys. Denny’s contract was approved July 18 following a 3 to 2 vote for appointment. He will take over from Mike Killebrew, who’s returning to his job as Assistant City Manager.
Mayor Debra Lewis and Councilman Paul Wyatt were the holdouts during the vote for Denny’s selection. Wyatt felt there were better candidates. Lewis’ issue was not with Denny, but with the selection process.
“It is my impression being privy to the process and debates in closed session that a candidate from outside the city was not likely to be hired,” said Mayor Lewis. “It is my impression that consensus was not the goal. I firmly believe that the integrity of the process and the council’s decision making must be trustworthy, particularly when the decision occurs behind closed doors.”
She added that the Brown Act seemed to be used “as a shield to do what the majority could or would not do in open session.”
Now that all is said and done, Lewis and Wyatt said the new city manager will have their full support. He’ll need it, given some of the pressing issues facing Dana Point.
Denny was hired as the city’s deputy city manager last year to oversee public works and community services. He had previously served as Chief Operating Officer for Orange County.
The Orange County Register reported at the time:
"Denny comes to Dana Point after more than a decade of service at the County of Orange, both as the director of OC Parks from 2006-13, and as the county’s COO for the past three years.
"Denny held those positions despite admitting to circulating fraudulent nominating papers and was convicted in 1996 of election fraud. He took part in a Republican scheme to win the 67th Assembly District election, a pivotal contest that allowed the party to gain control of the state Assembly. At the time of the election, he was a staff aide to Assembly Speaker Curt Pringle."