Staff Report

The Solvang City Council will vote on an employment agreement for their next city manager, David Gassaway, during their Feb. 25 meeting after numerous closed session discussions and multiple candidate interviews over a period of months. Gassaway is scheduled to begin his five year contract with the city on April 8.

According to the city’s staff report, Gassaway is currently the community development director for the City of Indian Wells where he oversees the planning, building, code enforcement, housing and economic development activities of the city. Prior to his current assignment, he was the assistant to the city manager in Indian Wells from May 2014 to June 2016. Before the City of Indian Wells,  Gassaway worked five years with the City of Rancho Cordova in various administrative capacities and in different operating departments until he was promoted to assistant to the city manager by then-nationally acclaimed City Manager Ted Gaebler.

Gassaway is a graduate of San Diego State University and holds a master’s degree in public administration from the University of San Francisco. In addition to his degrees, Gassaway also holds a professional certificate in advanced public engagement from Pepperdine University. He is a member of the International City/County Management Association (ICMS), the California City Management Foundation (CCMF), the Municipal Management Association of Southern California (MMASC) and the Alliance for Innovation.

If the city council approves his employment agreement as expected, Gassaway will receive a base salary of $175,000, reimbursement of moving expenses up to $5,000, and other benefits consistent with other management level positions within the city. A five-year city-provided “four percent interest-only” home loan for $150,000  will also be made available to Gassaway if he chooses to purchase a residence within Solvang city limits. 

Solvang City Council has been searching for their next city manager since last summer when former city manager, Brad Vidro, announced his intent to retire at the end of 2018. Retired Santa Maria city manager, Rick Haydon, has been serving as the city’s interim city manager since Vidro’s departure.