Garden Grove

Saying goodbye to Scott Stiles

THE FAREWELL to Scott Stiles at the Great Wolf Lodge was “bittersweet,” but the custom cake was delicious (Orange County Tribune photos).

By Jim Tortolano/Orange County Tribune

In front of a roomful of colleagues and admirers, outgoing Garden Grove City Manager Scott Stiles bid goodbye Thursday night at the Great Wolf Lodge to the City of Youth and Ambition, and set his sights on a new post as city manager of Palm Springs.

As was his typical practice, Stiles heaped praise on city staff, the city council and members of the community. He also told stories on himself, referring to his early days in office when he was expected to make big decisions, “but I didn’t even know where the bathrooms were in City Hall.”


As his remarks drew to a close, he choked up and teared up, briefly. “The future is really bright,” he said. “There’s a lot of good stuff going on here.”

During his seven-and-a-half years at City Hall, Stiles played a key role in accomplishments both high profile and out of the public eye.

His fingerprints are on the erasure of the city’s budget problems, on the SteelCraft outdoor urban eatery, the transformation of the “rusty skeleton” into the Garden Grove Senior Village, an improved water filtration system, expansion of the police department and more.

He was lauded by several speakers and good-humoredly roasted by a few. Mayor Steve Jones, whose tenure in office nearly paralleled Stiles’ term as the city’s top appointed executive, said, “This is a night to celebrate Scott Stiles’ many accomplishments but it’s also a bittersweet time to say goodbye. Despite him making it look easy, Scott faced several challenges as city manager. The pandemic alone probably gave him most of his grey hairs, but fortunately he still has a good head of hair. Even when times were tough, he never lost his enthusiasm or his spirit for this community. He turned out to be an amazing choice.”

Replacing Stiles will be Lisa Kim, who will be elevated from her post as assistant city manager and director of community and economic development.

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