The City of Ventura has hired a new City Manager, and the person the City Council has selected is already a familiar face to local government in Ventura County.
Mark Watkins is expected to start his new job with the city in mid-March. Watkins is currently the Assistant City Manager for the City of Thousand Oaks. Watkins worked for Thousand Oaks for 12 years, including seven years as Public Works Director. He was selected from a field of 38 candidates.
He fills the vacancy created by the resignation last August of longtime City Manager Rick Cole, who was forced out by the City Council, which decided it wanted a change in leadership. Retired Ventura County CEO Johnny Johnston has been serving as interim City Manager since last September, volunteering to help out the city by working without taking pay, or benefits.