Monrovia City Manager Scott Ochoa has been appointed to the same position with the city of Glendale, the city announced Tuesday.
Ochoa takes over for current Glendale City Manager Jim Starbird, a former Monrovia city manager himself who is stepping down at the end of the year. Ochoa will officially take over the job on Jan. 3, 2012, according to a Glendale city spokesman.
Ochoa said in an interview Tuesday night that his departure will be "bittersweet."
"I really do love this place. In many ways I grew up here and have made some amazing friendships," Ochoa said. "Pound for pound we are among the best organizations in the state."
Ochoa started as an intern in Monrovia in 1993, working his way up the ladder until he was appointed to the city manager position in 2004. A graduate of Claremont McKenna College, Ochoa obtained a master's degree in public administration from USC while working for Monrovia.
"My colleagues and I will miss Scott Ochoa, his leadership and professionalism are unparalleled. Glendale is getting a great city manager,” said Monrovia Mayor Mary Ann Lutz in a written statement.
Glendale Mayor Laura Friedman said in a prepared statement that Ochoa was selected because of his impressive "credentials, his values, his track record and multi-dimensional understanding of local government and municipal operations."
"We were impressed by his involvement in his community, as well as by his fresh outlook and enthusiasm," she wrote.
In terms of population, Ochoa's leap from Monrovia to Glendale is enormous. Glendale, with a population of about 197,000, Glendale is more than five times the size of Monrovia. Ochoa will also take charge of a much larger city work force. About 1,800 employees work for Glendale, compared to approximately 300 in Monrovia.
Ochoa said his experience would translate, however, because the city faces many of the same challenges--economic development, declining revenue--that he's faced here.
"When you look at a full-service city like Monrovia, a high performance organization, we're very innovative and entrepreneurial. Glendale matches that same intensity, that same type of focus," Ochoa said. "It's really a matter of scale, not of scope."
Ochoa's salary is still being negotiated, according to the Glendale News-Press. Ochoa currently makes about $182,000 per year in Monrovia, not including benefits and bonuses. Starbird makes about $240,000 annually, the News-Press reports.
Ochoa said he was approached by an Glendale executive recruiter in September and has been going through the application process since. He tendered his resignation at the Monrovia City Council meeting Tuesday and will stay on as city manager until Jan. 2, 2012, he said.
Ochoa said he plans on moving to Glendale as soon as the real estate market allows. He lives in Monrovia with his wife Sophia Ochoa and their children Nicolas, 14, and Tessia, 10.
Check back later for more on this breaking story.