By George Boehme
The West University City Council spent $38,000 on a nationwide search for a new city manager, and ended up hiring from within — promoting Assistant City Manager/Public Works Director Dave Beach to the post Monday night (Jan. 14). He will take over on Jan. 22.
Beach has worked for the city for 13 ½ years, rising from assistant to the city manager to general services superintendent, assistant director then director of public works, and being named assistant city manager in January 2018.
Beach told Essentials he was “humbled and honored” by the appointment. He will make $165,000 a year.
“I am excited to continue serving this community in this new role,” he said, “and most of all I am looking forward to the future and what we can accomplish to make West U even better place to live and raise a family.”
He replaces Chris Peifer, 61, who had been serving in the post since August 2015. Peifer announced last fall he would be retiring Jan. 22, and his last day will be next Monday.
Peifer had high praise for his successor. “History has proven Dave a most professional, competent and dedicated servant of the people of West University Place,” he said. “I could not be happier, I am certain of a clear and bright future for both the city and Dave.”
Before coming to West U, Beach worked as a management analyst and assistant to the city manager of Mulkiteo, Wash., on Puget Sound north of Seattle.
He holds a bachelor’s degree from Washington State University and a master of public administration degree from Arizona State.
A search firm conducted the screening for candidates, with 34 applicants for the position. Three finalists, including Beach, were interviewed by councilmembers behind closed doors.
The vote for Beach Monday night was unanimous — as was the praise for him.
Mayor Pro Tem Mardi Turner called him an “excellent choice,” adding, “His integrity and institutional knowledge, together with his high standards of conduct will enable him to serve the city well.”
“Dave Beach has been preparing for this job for 14 years,” said Councilmember Bob Higley. “He understands the culture of West University Place and has the technical expertise to steer us through our new wave of capital improvements like the Buffalo Speedway project. Dave’s selection at this time is vital to homeowners in West U.”
“His understanding of our community and proven track record of accomplishments and service to our city made him the clear and unanimous choice,” said Councilmember Kevin Boyle, and Councilmember Kellye Burke congratulated him on a “well deserved promotion,” adding, ““We are delighted to have someone with Dave’s experience and deep knowledge of our community as our city manager.”
Mayor Susan Sample praised Beach’s “unique combination of executive management, high standards and knowledge of West U.”
“He is a skilled administrator who has earned the confidence and respect of city staff and is known throughout the community,” Sample said. “It is without question he will bring transparency, innovation and a team spirit” to the position.