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Teresa Gallavan

Teresa Gallavan effectively took over as Lompoc's interim city manager Friday. 

As the city of Lompoc looks to find a new city manager for the first time in five years, it has once again turned to a familiar face to lead the city during what the City Council has described as a nationwide search.

Teresa Gallavan, who has primarily served as the city’s assistant city manager and economic development director since being hired in 2011, effectively took over as interim city manager Friday, which marked the official end of Patrick Wiemiller’s tenure as city manager. Wiemiller announced Nov. 9 that he was stepping down from his role in Lompoc so that he could accept a position as assistant city manager in Santa Maria.

This will be Gallavan’s second term as interim city manager, a role she also filled for three months in 2013 before the City Council hired Wiemiller. Days before stepping into a position that is both new and old for her, Gallavan said that she was looking forward to another stint as the city’s top employee and she expressed confidence that her previous term, as well as her experience from her regular job, will only benefit her and the city moving forward.

“I think that, like the first time, it’s an opportunity for me to work closely with my colleagues and support them during this transition, as well as support and work more closely with the council,” she said.

“Having more experience working as the economic development director and assistant city manager helps as well,” she added.

Gallavan was selected for the interim position last month. She will be paid $14,583 per month — reportedly the same salary that Wiemiller was receiving — and her benefits will remain the same, according to an employment agreement that was signed last month by Gallavan and city officials.

While there are no guarantees on how long Gallavan holds on to the interim title, she said she anticipates the search for the next city manager will take about five months. She said she hasn’t yet decided if that search will include her name among the list of candidates.

“I’m looking forward to (the interim role) and I would like to see what the council is looking for in the next city manager before deciding whether or not I’ll be applying,” she said.

Gallavan said that her plan in the interim position isn’t merely to maintain the status quo but, rather, “we want to continue to move forward with all of the matters that the city needs to tackle.”

Those include managing the day-to-day operations at City Hall but, also, big-picture issues like continuing to work through cannabis regulations, preparing budget and zoning ordinance updates for the City Council, and continuing discussions with outside groups on large projects, such as the stalled Motorsports Park venture.

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Gallavan said she has worked closely with Wiemiller over the past couple months to prepare for the transition. In December, she began attending meetings that he normally attended to get better acquainted with the role ahead of the switch.

“That was very beneficial to be able to spend that time with Patrick as we get ready for this transition period,” she said, adding that whoever replaces Wiemiller will have “big shoes to fill.”

Gallavan, who worked for the Riverside County Economic Development Agency for 15 years before moving to Lompoc, will be supported in her role as interim city manager by Deputy City Manager Laura Dubbels.

While Gallavan has remained mum on whether she intends to apply for the top job, she said she is content with her regular position and plans to remain with the city, at least in the near future, regardless of what happens with the city manager search.

“I really like what I’m doing and the people I get to work with,” she said. “I really enjoy this job and I believe in what we’re doing in the community and continuing to improve the quality of life in our community, so I would absolutely like to continue to serve in that capacity — if I don’t go for this other opportunity.

“It’s a real honor to be able to serve the community in this way.”

Willis Jacobson covers the city of Lompoc for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter @WJacobsonLR.