Manhattan Beach Places Manager on Leave

Manhattan Beach City Manager Mark Danaj was placed on paid administrative leave Thursday. The city council has declined to say what prompted the decision.

“In that this is a personnel matter, the City Council will have no additional comments at this time,” read a statement from City Attorney Quinn Barrow. Finance Director Bruce Moe has been appointed to the interim position.

Danaj has been at the helm since July 2014. If he ends up leaving, he would become the third city manager in eight years to abruptly depart Manhattan Beach. It would also coincide with the departure of Police Chief Eve Irvine and Fire Chief Robert Espinosa, who are both leaving this month. Irvine will head the Torrance Police Department and is being replaced by Captain Derrick Abell, a veteran of the Manhattan Beach PD. Espinosa is retiring.

The decision regarding Danaj also follows the elimination of two high-level positions — that of economic vitality manager and the assistant city manager's job. City council members would not elaborate on their decision to stealthily scrap the positions, although the cost savings — estimated at nearly $500,000 — were probably a key factor.