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 CJ’s Job
Interview with City Manager CJ Johnson

Don Mosier | Rimini Road

This interview was conducted on May 13th, the three-month anniversary of CJ beginning as City Manager. The city response to the COVID-19 pandemic began on March 14th which quickly changed the nature of CJ’s job.

Courtesy Christa Johnson

Sandpiper (SP): How are you and your family doing during the lockdown?

CJ: Well! We are healthy. My adult son and my 16-year old daughter are at home every day, and my husband continues to go to his job. I get to have Zoom meetings with my three sisters each week.

SP: How often do you work from home?

CJ: About one day a week during this time when everyone is encouraged to telework. But I enjoy the commute from Del Mar to home. Time to relax after a long day at work and listen to a good audiobook.

SP: No one anticipated the COVID-19 pandemic when you started. How are you adjusting?

CJ: 90% of my time has been spent on the COVID-19 response; life has changed since March 14th; two rounds of budget reductions and delayed council priorities. No opportunity to meet face-to-face with Del Mar residents. I’m still getting to know some of the staff. It’s been challenging.

SP: How does your job in Del Mar differ from Laguna Beach?

CJ: Less writing, more moving staff forward, different level of responsibility. I really enjoy running and exploring the beautiful neighborhoods during my lunch break. Even with the crisis, it’s more fun to be in Del Mar!

SP: What’s the most challenging decision you have made?

CJ: The beach closure issues with relentless pressure to re-open. Detailed local planning followed by San Diego and County ignoring the coastal cities in making decisions. Dog owners continue to be unhappy, but the beach is now open and most people are following the rules.

SP: How have you and staff adjusted to telephonic communication?

CJ: Working remotely is now possible after a short transition. Planning and Community Development has adapted to online communication, including Citizen Participation Program meetings. Council meetings work although public participation is more challenging, and I’m not sure how many people are listening.

SP: Any closing thoughts that you want to share with our community?

CJ: Even though responding to the pandemic and resulting budget crisis has been tough at times, being able to work with supportive City Councilmembers, City staff, and residents to overcome the challenges is satisfying. I know I’m going to continue to be happy here!



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