Has SLO City Manager Katie Lichtig been grooming her replacement?

August 19, 2017

For multiple years, San Luis Obispo City Manager Katie Lichtig has had a succession plan of turning over the reigns to Derek Johnson, who is currently SLO’s assistant city manager, Lichtig told the Tribune.

In 2015, Johnson swapped places with Michael Codron, with Johnson taking over as assistant city manager and Codron shifting to the job of community development director. Lichtig told the Tribune the move was part of a purposeful succession planning effort.

Now, with Lichtig having announced she is resigning to return to the city of Santa Monica, San Luis Obispo is conducting an internal search for its next city manager. Only Johnson is interested in the job, Lichtig said to the Tribune.

The San Luis Obispo City Council plans to conduct a closed session assessment of Johnson in early September.

Johnson has worked for the city of SLO since 2011. He served as community development director from 2011 to 2015. In addition to assuming the role of assistant city manager in 2015, he also served as interim finance and information technology director for about six months.

Previously, Johnson worked as the general manager of the Isla Vista Recreation and Parks District from 1996 to 2006 and as Santa Barbara County’s director of long-range planning from 2006 to 2010. In 2010 and 2011, Johnson served as community development director for the city of Capitola.

The prospective SLO city manager holds a bachelor’s degree from UC Santa Barbara in environmental studies. He has also completed the United States Army Communications and Combat School.

Earlier this month, Lichtig announced she is resigning as city manager to become chief operating officer/assistant city manager of Santa Monica. In 1992, Lichtig began her municipal career with the Southern California city.

Lichtig has served more than 7.5 years at the helm of San Luis Obispo’s city government. Her last working day in SLO will be Sept. 28.


So if a City hires an employee with a known record or propensity of violence then what is the financial liability when that employee beats up another employee? Can the City simply claim this is the first incident. When the City hires a manager with a known propensity for verbally abusing lower level staff then what is the financial liability? Taking on the liability of a dog that bites is a financially inept decision. All one has to do is examine the track record of this individual to realize that the liability is there. However, the City can always hire outside legal counsel to litigate to the end. Santa Barbara paid out millions for the abuse and millions to outside counsel, but he has taken anger management courses and training.

Cant wait until Stew sues the City over this one.


This is a done deal folks, no question! This is not a win for the citizens of SLO, but certainly a win for the City Council and especially for inapt Mayor Harmon who totally relies on Ms. Lickig, J. Christine Dietrick, City Attorney and her staff (Jon Ansolabehere, Assistant City Attorney,

Anne Russell, Temporary, Part-time, Assistant City Attorney, Kelly White, Legal Assistant, and

Jordan Hopkins, Part-time, Administrative Assistant – do we really need this many people to hire outside attorney’s to do the real work), Chamber of Commerce, Developer Grossman, John Madonna and the Copeland Brothers. No change in business as usual which means no trust at City Hall!

VOTE YES – Measure B-17


A few years back, our disgraced Paso police chief Lisa Solomon Chitty “resigned” so a lengthy AND expensive search for a replacement took place. Paso needed fresh, competent leadership…Someone who wasn’t around when Chittygate was in full swing. (Pun intended.)

But guess who got the job? A qualified outsider?

Nope. No surprise, it was Lisa’s trusty sidekick Robert Burton. Seems nice enough…no scandals but some say he was a “yes man” to Lisa. Oh well, that’s how it works in city government.

Waste thousands of tax dollars while pretending to “narrow down the search” but all the while a replacement has already been chosen.

So in SLO it will be the same deal. Katie’s replacement has already been anointed. Any supposed internal search for an applicant is a complete farce.


WOW ABOUT TIME goodbye to a worthless individual i know a lot

of of people that will be dancing in the streets in SLO and a bunch of UNHAPPY folks in santa monica, i know the PD is OVERJOYED


Just look at the grand jury report from Santa Barbara and the one that Ventura County did on the misconduct that this guy did with his cronies.

Katie groomed him to cover up her misdeeds.


Sounds perfect! ; /


He may be a very nice guy but why would they want a Katy Lichtig clone?

Mitch C

From my assessment, Ms. Lichtig was less than an adequate manager, does anyone else worry that her picking and training her replacement is not a good thing. It is said: ” Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result”. Mr. Johnson may be a good man but the city of SLO needs a new direction especially in light of the apparent wack job that currently sits in the mayor’s chair.

Rich in MB

SLO….here is your chance to make a break from the insider corruption game. Do you continue down the trouble path or stop the madness?


Aside from increased pay for government employees and growing the bureaucracy, does she have any accomplishments?


Are you saying increasing pay for city employees and adding more bureaucracy aren’t accomplishments?


The way the sentence is constructed..”aside from increased pay…” it calls them accomplishments. Dubious accomplishments as far as a taxpayer is concerned, but accomplishments nonetheless.