Palm Desert, CA
The Palm Desert City Council is expected Thursday to officially approve an employment agreement for Lauri Aylaian to take over as city manager, effective Oct. 3.
Aylaian, who previously served as the city’s director of community development and was most recently Palm Springs economic development director, will succeed John Wohlmuth, who was asked to resign under controversial circumstances earlier this year.
Following Wohlmuth’s April resignation, Aylaian was among nearly 50 candidates who applied for the position, according to a city staff report.
Her starting salary will be $220,000, per her employment contract, which is expected to be signed and approved at Thursday’s city council meeting.
“Palm Desert has crafted an exciting new vision for the future, and has an exceptional staff that embraces the vision and is anxious to implement it,” Aylaian said. “I’m honored to be chosen to play a key role in building this future.”
Mayor Robert Speigel called Aylaian “the best person for the job. She has great knowledge of our city and will be able to hit the ground running.”
Wohlmuth resigned after city officials said he circulated a nude photo of a city employee to city staff members.
The photograph, taken by Wohlmuth, depicted a male staffer poised to swim naked in Wolhmuth’s backyard pool because he had forgot to bring swim trunks.
Employees penned letters to the city’s Human Resources Department complaining about Wohlmuth’s behavior, stating that he laughed over the incident, saying “everyone should see” the photo.
City Attorney Robert Hargreaves said that in the wake of Wohlmuth’s mindiscretions, the city would take measures to ensure harassment and discrimination in the workplace stops.