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EDITORIAL: A Difficult Time

Pat Vergne (in red) on June 27, 2012 at the
Grand Opening of the Beach Safety Center.
Photo Virginia Lawrence.
Click on photo to enlarge.

Del Mar has lost the services of our esteemed head lifeguard, Pat Vergne, Director of the Community Services Department. Pat has served our community with distinction for quite a few decades, always popular, always friendly, and always responsive to citizen needs and requests. Our lifeguard operation enjoys an excellent professional reputation, thanks to his training and leadership. He has built a very effective internal leadership team to assure operational efficiency and effectiveness of the entire crew. The outpouring of response to his termination testifies to the high regard he has earned throughout the community.

The outside investigator hired by the city has concluded that Pat is responsible for some financial mismanagement. The City press release summary of that report can be found on our website. Pat’s spokesperson has written a response to those findings refuting the charge of mismanagement. That statement can also be found on our website.

The other dimension of Pat’s role involves his performance as a member of the City’s management team. According to state and municipal law and the council manager form of government, performance evaluation information must be held in strict confidence. The city manager is responsible for making decisions about individual employee performance, including hiring and firing. The city manager works for the Council which oversees his overall performance, also in confidence. This is very frustrating for those of us who want to review and understand any management problems that may have led to Pat’s termination. The law leaves us no choice but to live with that frustration.

Our hope is that the community can focus on that part of Pat’s performance that has benefited us so much by celebrating his legacy of community service.


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