Irvine’s Grace Leung to Replace Outgoing Newport Beach City Manager David Kiff

A three month search that attracted more than 70 candidates for Newport Beach’s next city manager has finally ended with the appointment of Irvine Assistant City Manager Grace Leung.

Leung’s hiring was approved unanimously by the City Council Tuesday. She will earn $265,000 per year plus benefits when she takes over on Sept. 4.

In addition to all members of the City Council, Leung’s hiring got the nod from retiring city manager David Kiff.

“It matters very much what Mr. Kiff thinks of his replacement because he’s earned that respect and his staff needs to know that they’ll be in good hands,” said Councilman Kevin Muldoon.

Kiff will officially step down on Aug. 31. His departure has ignited controversy, thanks to suspicions that some members of the City Council may have engineered an early exit. It’s an allegation that both the councilmembers and Kiff have denied.

Leung is a public administration veteran with more than 20 years of municipal experience under her belt. Before joining the City of Irvine, she held the Director of Finance position in Sunnyvale. For a period of five months this year, she also served as Irvine’s acting city manager. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies from Columbia University and a Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard.

“I couldn’t be more pleased for our city, for our residents, for our employees, our city staff — a new leader with extremely big shoes to fill,” Councilwoman Diane Dixon said of Leung’s appointment. Dixon noted that Leung tackled a number of issues in Irvine that she is likely to face again in Newport Beach.

Assistant City Manager Carol Jacobs will serve as acting city manager from Sept. 1 through Sept. 3. The city is holding a going away party for David Kiff on Aug. 30 at the Civic Center lawn outside City Hall.



Wednesday, April 24, 2019 - 18:41

In 2017, the California State Legislature took sanctuary policies statewide with the passage of SB 54, or the California Values Act, which limits cooperation with federal immigration enforcement.