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Nevada City Council appoints Sean Grayson new city manager


The Nevada City Council has unanimously picked Sean Grayson as its new city manager.

Grayson comes to Nevada City from the city of Rialto, where he served as fire chief, said Joan Phillipe, interim city manager.

Selected Wednesday, his first day on the job is Feb. 28. His three-year contract calls for a salary of $155,000 a year, plus benefits.

After a thorough review of top tier candidates and contract negotiations, Grayson accepted the position, said Phillipe.

“I think we got the right person to continue forward, and I’m enthusiastically looking forward to working in transition with Sean,” Phillipe said.

The council last February approved a separation agreement with then-City Manager Catrina Olson. Phillipe came on as interim the following month.

Grayson served as a Rialto interim city administrator from December 2018 to July 2019, and as its interim city manager from September 2020 to June 2021.

He has a master’s of science executive fire service leadership from Grand Canyon University, and a bachelor’s of science in business from Excelsior College.

Grayson has worked his entire career in public service, mostly public safety. Public service brought him back home to Nevada City.

“Nevada City is at a crossroads of history and progress, and I really can’t think of a better place to serve or call home,” he said. “I’m a compassionate team builder and learned my work ethic from my family and my dad.

“Nevada City is a long term commitment to me and my family and my amazing better half, my wife Vanessa and our kids, who already are and will become even greater contributors to this community,” he added.

Grayson also pointed to the work done by Phillipe. He touted her achievements as wonderful for the city, and employees.

“I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart,” he said. “You have been a voice for the council.”


Council member Gary Peterson said the selection process was one of the most intensive job interviews he has been a part of.

“But it was well done and I have full confidence (in Grayson), and I am happy you are here,” he said.

Vice Mayor Douglas Fleming said it is exciting to have someone of Grayson’s caliber.

“I’m sure it will be fun to work with you,” he said. “We did end up with the best candidate. And we were in lockstep, unanimous in this decision. You will have the entire support of this council.”

Brian Park, Rialto fire chief, said Grayson demonstrated success in numerous endeavors to improve emergency medical services while in Rialto. He recalled working with him a during a public comment phone call.

“It’s a bittersweet moment to see him leave,” he said. “What he’s done with leadership, planning and organizational development were a tremendous success.”

Mayor Duane Strawser thanked Grayson for his patience and professionalism in handling the lengthy process.

“It really speaks volumes to your sincerity and interest in the position,” he said. “And coming back here to Nevada City, I think that speaks volumes, so I appreciate that.”

William Roller is a staff writer with The Union. He can be reached at wroller@theunion.com

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