Manhattan Beach has selected a Silicon Valley city administrator lauded as innovative and dynamic as its new city manager.

The City Council will vote on an employment agreement with Mark Danaj at its May 20 meeting.

“Mark represents the next generation of city managers who offer fresh ideas and contemporary approaches to leading municipalities in partnership with the communities they serve,” Mayor Amy Howorth said. “The City Council is thrilled to have attracted someone of Mark’s caliber to Manhattan Beach.”

Danaj currently serves as assistant city manager in Fremont, a 215,000-population suburb on the northeastern edge of the Silicon Valley. He previously was the human resources director for the city of San Jose and also has served as an assistant county administrator and in a variety of department head roles in the northern Chicago area.

If appointed, Danaj will earn an annual salary of $250,000. His predecessor, Dave Carmany, was given a base salary of $213,220 when he was hired in December 2010.

“The City Council maintained its commitment to offering competitive yet fiscally responsible compensation that is consistent with today’s marketplace,” said a city press release.

Danaj will also receive an annual city contribution of $17,500 to a 401(a) plan, a $400 monthly car allowance, a temporary housing allowance of $3,500 per month for three months and 12 to 18 months of paid severance based on his tenure.

The city will provide a home loan to Danaj so he can live in the city. An agreement for that loan will come before the City Council for a vote at a later date.

Danaj’s selection comes six months after the City Council fired former City Manager Dave Carmany without cause after three years of service.

At a February meeting, the City Council asked residents what qualities were important to them in the next city manager. They also encouraged residents to fill out an online survey.

Residents told the council they wanted an open, transparent leader with an open-door policy to the community, a wealth of knowledge and an affinity for digital technology.

Council members, at the time, said the new manager should have a track record of good decision-making abilities and a commitment to the environment, and be able to integrate well into the community.

“He was head and shoulders above everyone else,” Councilman Mark Burton said of Danaj. “This guy is really dynamic. He’s a real quick thinker. I think he’ll inspire everybody. He’s just got an energy to him and a positive way of handling things.”

Danaj holds an MBA from the University of Notre Dame and a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science from Marquette University. He also is a graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Senior Executives in State and Local Government program.

Burton said Danaj’s skill sets — human resources, technology and innovation — were exactly what the city was looking for.

“I think we’ll have the best city government we’ve had in quite some time,” Burton said. “He’s not going to settle for status quo. He’s going to shake things up.”

Danaj, whose first day would be July 7, declined to talk in too much detail until his appointment is confirmed.

“Manhattan Beach is a dynamic urban coastal community with an iconic history,” he said. “I would be honored to be a part of it, and I look forward to working with the mayor, council, the community and the organization to shape a bright and vibrant future.”

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