The Palm Desert City Council has selected a new city manager.
Officials announced Thursday afternoon that Lauri Aylaian will serve as the community's next city manager. The selection was announced at the council's regular meeting. Aylaian's appointment is subject to the approval of an agreement that will be drafted by the city attorney for consideration at the next regular council meeting on September 8.
Aylaian will be replacing the seat vacated by former City Manager John Wohlmuth, who resigned earlier this year after allegations surfaced of him showing nude photos of a fellow coworker, which were apparently taken while he was hosting a party at his home.
Mayor Spiegel said, "Lauri Aylaian is the best person for the job; she has great knowledge of our city and will be able to hit the ground running."
The decision comes after a rigorous and extensive process that began with the retention of Ralph Anderson & Associates on April 28 to conduct a nationwide recruitment for a new city manager.
After receiving nearly 50 applications from across the country, the council selected eight semi-finalists for interviews. Following interviews on July 29, the council narrowed the field to three finalists who were interviewed on August 24. Aylaian was unanimously selected by the council as the top candidate.
According to city officials, Aylaian responded to her selection by saying "Palm Desert has crafted an exciting new vision for the future, and has an exceptional staff that embraces the vision and is anxious to implement it. I'm honored to be chosen to play a key role in building this future."
Aylaian served the city of Palm Desert for 16 years, starting out as a project administrator in 1999, and then serving as redevelopment manager from 2002 to 2007, where she managed numerous infrastructure projects, major land acquisitions, hotel attraction efforts and the development of Entrada del Paseo, according to the city's release.
In 2007, she was promoted to lead the Community Development Department comprised of Planning, Business Licensing, Sustainability, Code Compliance and Public Art. As director of community development she played key roles in developing the city's general plan and the Envision Palm Desert strategic plan.
Prior to coming to Palm Desert, Aylaian worked for Atlanta-based Heery International, for 11 years as a project manager, managing the design and construction of retail, educational and correctional projects valued up to $60 million for both private and public sector clients.
City officials said Aylaian's deep knowledge of Palm Desert's community and her understanding of its vision, which she helped to create, will allow her to quickly and seamlessly ensure that the city continues to operate efficiently and effectively while advancing key projects, such as the city's general plan update.
They also believe that Aylaian's longtime association with and experience in the Coachella Valley will also help her maintain Palm Desert's position as a regional leader.