Meet the Next City Manager of Palm Springs

Palm Springs is expected to ink a contract with a new city manager on Feb. 11. The City Council’s choice is Justin Clifton, who currently serves as city manager of Sedona, Arizona.

As Sedona’s chief administrator, Clifton has overseen a number of major transportation projects. He helped create a resident engagement program, a sustainable tourism plan, and the city’s first economic development, affordable housing and sustainability programs. He also serves as President-Elect of the Arizona City/County Management Association.

"He was selected for his insight into the future of the city, commitment to community engagement, interest in investing in residents and neighborhoods, expertise in economic development, experience in a thriving tourism economy and his strong financial acumen," said Mayor Pro Tem Lisa Middleton.

Clifton’s experience with tourism development will be an asset to the city. The COVID-19 pandemic has cost the Coachella Valley an estimated $3.5 billion in revenue, according to the Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism.

Clifton graduated from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado before obtaining his Masters in Political Science and Public Policy from the University of Colorado. He previously served as the town manager of Bayfield and as city manager of Delta – both in the Centennial State.

Palm Springs’ current city manager, David Ready, announced his retirement last year. He will remain on board until Clifton takes over at the beginning of April. Ready is one of five Coachella Valley city managers who announced their retirements in 2020. The others were Charles Maynard (Desert Hot Springs), Bill Pattinson (Coachella), Mark Scott (Indio), and Lauri Aylaian (Palm Desert).