Santa Paula Hires Banning City Manager Michael Rock

Banning City Manager Michael Rock has resigned and accepted the same position with the City of Santa Paula. The council appointed him 5 to 0 Tuesday. He’s slated to begin his new job next month, replacing Jaime Fontes.

Rock has worked for Banning since November of 2015. He previously worked for Lomita and Fairfax. Jobs he’s held include senior management analyst, streets manager, operations manager and public works director.

Rock’s focus is on revitalization of the downtown area.

“A big part of what we try to do inside city government is make downtown interesting and alive and viable and make neighborhoods better and safer to live,” he said. “We have a real chance to do that in Santa Paula.”

“We need to rethink how we’re structuring our downtowns,” Rock added.

51 other applicants applied for Santa Paula’s city manager job. Seven were interviewed.

Rock comes with a little bit of baggage. An ethics investigation in Banning found he had had asked a city employee to find a challenger for an incumbent council member in the November election. Rock disputes the findings and Council Member John Procter said he’s convinced it was a nonissue.

Rock will earn an annual salary of $186,000 plus benefits and a $450 monthly vehicle allowance. His salary in Banning was just under $178,000.