CHICO, Calif. - Chico Assistant City Manager Mark Orme could be named as Chico's interim city manager as early as Tuesday night when the city council meets in closed session.
Orme is interested in taking over for Brian Nakamura, who is leaving for Rancho Cordova for a similar position. "I think we have a wonderful city," said Orme, who joined Nakamura's staff more than a year ago. "This organization is going to have leadership in place, and if I can be a part of it I look forward to it."
Nakamura's begins his new job on July 1. Insiders say the new position is one of Nakamura's dream jobs. But they also confide that Nakamura became weary of the constant criticism his cost-cutting caused.
Supporters say that while his belt-tightening meant a cut in city staff, it helped put Chico on a stronger financial path.
"The city had gotten over-bloated and had spent $20 million," said Sean Morgan, a first term city council member. "It's not a fun job to come in and say, 'We have to cut here and become more efficient here.' Not very many people wanted to do it. And even less people are capable of doing it. He did it."
If Orme is named interim city manager and ultimately permanent city manager, critics of Nakamura may see a different face, but not necessarily a significantly different financial strategy.
"With $8 million in deficit and no reserve, there's a lot of work left to be done," said Orme.