Longtime city employee leaves city service

Rick Morgan leaves post as acting public works director suddenly.

By Laura Tate/Editor

The City of Malibu acting public works director, Rick Morgan, will resign his post as of Friday, Feb. 28.

Morgan, who was previously the city engineer and then the director of the Department of Engineering services, took on the title of acting director after the Public Works Department and the Department of Engineering services combined in July 2002 to become more economically feasible. The city’s previous public works director, Chuck Bergson, left his post a few months after the departments combined.

Morgan has worked with the city since almost its incorporation. He was one of five or six applicants for the position of public works director and was, sources say, the top pick for the post.

A source, who asked not to be identified, said friction existed between Morgan and City Manager Katie Lichtig recently. Although a committee to recommend an applicant for the director’s position proposed Morgan as the top choice, Lichtig, who is responsible for hiring and firing department staff, was not satisfied with the recommendation. Morgan did not want to stay on with the city, sources say, because he did not get the position.


“Rick said he did not want to stay in the ring … because he didn’t get it, he decided to move on,” said a source who asked not to be identified.

Morgan did not return phone calls about this story.

Lichtig would not confirm or deny that Morgan was one of the applicants for the director’s position and would not say why he was leaving so suddenly, other than saying, “Rick and I have agreed that he’s had many successes here with the city and it’s time [for him] to look for new and interesting endeavors.”

Of whether Morgan was passed over for the position as director, Lichtig said, “There was a recruitment process that was unsuccessful in finding a candidate and we will begin that process again.”

When questioned about any possible conflicts with Morgan, Lichtig said she would rather “focus on his successes.”

Among Morgan’s list of accomplishments as city engineer and then acting public works director are handling the work and completion of the decomposed granite walkway around Malibu High School and Juan Cabrillo Elementary down to West Malibu, the installation of the storm water treatment facility in the Civic Center area, the design of the Corral Canyon Road repair, completion of the Storm Drain Master Plan, as well as the coordination with Caltrans of reconstruction of the Pacific Coast Highway bridge at Cross Creek when it collapsed during the storm of 1997. Morgan was also heavily involved with the clean water program.

Lichtig said a new process is underway to interview and select a new public works director.

The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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