Following an election this past November in which the voters of Yucaipa elected two new members to the City Council, the Council is taking decisive action to move Yucaipa forward. The Council’s first step involved making changes to the City’s executive leadership team by appointing Mann as city manager, effective March 1st, and the immediate appointment of a new city attorney.
Mann, who resides in Yucaipa with his wife Annie and two-year-old son Liam, has served as city manager for the City of Canyon Lake, in Southwest Riverside County, since March of 2019. Mann is widely credited with turning around the finances of Canyon Lake over his four-year stint there, implementing popular quality of life programs that have increased General Fund revenue by 31% without raising taxes, and taking the City’s budget from an $800,000 deficit to a surplus of more than $400,000.
Mann also implemented the creation of the Canyon Lake Fire Department when the Council decided to provide those services locally. The Canyon Lake Fire Department went into service January 1, 2022, saving the City hundreds of thousands of dollars in its first year and providing faster response times than what the City experienced under its previous contract with the County of Riverside.
“I truly believe Chris Mann is simply the best Manager the City has had in its 32-year history,” stated Canyon Lake Mayor Jeremy Smith. “Our entire Council will be sad to see him go, but this opportunity just makes sense for Chris and for the City of Yucaipa. The Yucaipa Council, staff, business community and residents are going to love working with Chris.”
“Seven years ago, I decided to purchase a home and raise my family here in Yucaipa, which in my humble opinion is the best community anywhere,” said Mann. “I want my son to grow up in the safest, most patriotic city in the State of California. It is a dream come true to be able to manage the city where I live, and I would not want to live anywhere else. I am committed to working with the City Council to ensure a high level of service for residents, and continuing to find innovative solutions to protect and enhance Yucaipa’s unique quality of life.”
Mann brings to Yucaipa a wide breadth of experience, both in the public and private sectors. A former deputy chief of staff for the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, Mann started in public service at a young age. At 23 he was elected to the City Council in the City of Westlake Village, in Western Los Angeles County (1999). At 26 he became mayor. He has also served on two separate elected water boards, the San Gorgonio Pass Water Agency (2004-2008) and the Yucaipa Valley Water District (2016-present), where he has been selected by his peers as board president, a position he has held for the past four consecutive years. Mann intends to resign his seat on the Yucaipa Valley Water District Board of Directors prior to assuming office as city manager on March 1st.
Much of Mann’s professional experience has been in the private sector. From 2005 to 2019, Mann owned and operated Mann Communications, a public relations firm specializing in helping businesses interface and do business with local government, and helping local government agencies more effectively communicate with the public. The company’s client list included local small businesses, residential and commercial real estate development companies, industry associations, labor groups, cities, political action committees and non-profit organizations.
The City Council feels that Mann’s varied professional experiences match perfectly with the issues Yucaipa is currently facing. “Chris has had success throughout his career in the areas of public administration, communications, public outreach and engagement, economic development, contract negotiations, governmental affairs, improving public safety, and managing staff and multi-million-dollar budgets,” said Yucaipa Mayor Justin Beaver. “Chris also has the right relationships to help our City work collaboratively throughout the region for the benefit of Yucaipa residents.”
“This is a big win for our City,” stated Yucaipa Mayor Pro Tem Bobby Duncan. “We need new eyes on this City to effectively tackle recent budget challenges, organizational issues, and to aggressively address rising crime and homelessness. We were able to bring on a proven leader who is already invested in our community because he lives right here in Yucaipa, saving the City tens of thousands of dollars that a nation-wide search would have cost local taxpayers. What’s more, we found someone who will take a business-minded approach to the job of running the day-to-day operations of our City, yet someone who also has an abundance of local government experience. I’m excited about what this means for the future of Yucaipa.”
More information about Mann’s background can be found at: www.chrismann.us.
Steven Graham of the law firm Cole Huber LLP was appointed city attorney effective Monday evening. Graham also serves as city attorney for the Cities of Indio, Hemet and Canyon Lake and has previous experience as assistant city attorney for the Cities of Ontario, El Centro and Oakley. Prior to joining Cole Huber in 2018, Graham served in-house as a deputy city attorney for the City of San Bernardino. Graham spent much of his youth in the City of Yucaipa, where his father’s family has lived for several decades.