Feldman Tapped as New City Manager

Reva Feldman

The search is over: Reva Feldman, current assistant city manager, will step up to fill Jim Thorsen’s shoes at the helm of the city when he leaves Malibu come May.

Feldman, who has been with the City of Malibu since 2005, accepted the city manager position just before Monday night’s city council meeting, according to City Attorney Christi Hogin.

“Having looked near and far and to Oz and back, council has offered the job of city manager to our assistant city manager, Reva Feldman,” Hogin said to spirited applause from both city council and members of the public assembled at the meeting. Feldman has been assistant city manager since 2010.

“She’s accepted that appointment and we have come to terms on the agreement,” Hogin continued. “We will see a seamless transition come May 2 when Jim Thorsen removes himself from the chair.”

Thorsen, who has guided the city as manager since 2006, announced his retirement at the beginning of February. Following the announcement, the city put out an open call for applications to fill the position which, according to the published job offering, pays $210,000 per year. Details of Feldman’s contract will be published in the staff report for the April 25 city council meeting, Hogin said.

In February, Feldman confirmed that she had tossed her hat in the ring for the position, telling The Malibu Times she was “very interested in staying with the city.”

According to Hogin and various city council members, the job offering advertisement yielded a healthy response of over 70 applicants. Council met four times in closed session, the final time on Monday to offer the job to Feldman.

Council members spoke to congratulate Feldman, but also to comment about how extensive the process of choosing Thorsen’s replacement was.

“First of all, I want to congratulate Reva,” Mayor Pro Tem Lou La Monte said. “As Jim wanders off to the city manager’s hall of fame, I’m sure there’ll be a spot for you, and I’m sure you’re going to be busy. Thank you for accepting our offer.”

“I might add that it was a very thorough process we went through,” Council Member John Sibert added later. “There were literally 70 applications from far away as Massachusetts … and we got the best candidate.”

Council Member Skylar Peak agreed.

“I don’t know how conveyed it was by everyone, but there were … a lot of good candidates,” Peak said. “Reva was much better than any of those candidates, so I appreciate her continued service.”

“Over the last 11 years serving the city, Reva has shown that she has the leadership skills, knowledge, strength, experience and dedication to the community that Malibu deserves,” Mayor Laura Rosenthal said in a statement released by the city. “The council looks forward to a seamless transition as Jim Thorsen retires and Reva takes the reins.” 

For her part, Feldman said she was “very honored and very excited” to begin her tenure as city manager.

“I wanted to thank everyone in the community. I’ve been very humbled and very grateful for all the support I have gotten,” Feldman said.

Throughout the council meeting, many members of the public, who were speaking about other issues, took time to congratulate Feldman on her promotion. Feldman’s popularity likely stems in part from her success managing the finances of the city, notably establishing the AA+ bond rating from Standard & Poor’s (S&P), earned in 2015. 

“During her tenure, Feldman has assisted in the growth of general fund reserves from $7 million to $20 million,” the city’s statement reads. The city also lists the acquisition and remodel of City Hall, renovation of the Malibu Library, and increase in communication and emergency operations as accomplishments Feldman has had a hand in.

At Monday’s meeting, Feldman said the support of the community makes it “all the more exciting” for her to begin work as the new city manager next month.

“I’m looking forward to serving our community as I have — today is actually the anniversary of my 11th year here at the city, so this is a wonderful anniversary present,” Feldman said.