A portrait of Frank Luckino over a photo of Desert Hot Springs City Hall.
The Desert Hot Springs City Council Tuesday named Frank Luckino as the city's new city manager. (Portrait courtesy of Twentynine Palms)

The Desert Hot Springs City Council Tuesday night unanimously selected Frank Luckino to fill the role of city manager from a pool of 29 candidates.

“I wanted to thank all the candidates and every application that was put in for this job,” Mayor Scott Matas said. “It means a lot.”

Luckino, who is currently city manager for Twentynine Palms, will resign from that position later this month and officially join the city of Desert Hot Springs in November. 

“I think this is probably the most important decision a city council makes, and as I was going through this process, I was looking for somebody that had financial acumen and experience,” Councilman Russell Betts said. “And as you go through this process … you really get a good read on who stands out and you know, there were some weaker candidates, and Frank stood out as just exceptional.” 

Luckino previously served as the city manager for the city of Blythe, the assistant general manager and chief financial officer for the Hi-Desert Water District and controller for Planet Hollywood International.

“With the staff that you have, the leadership that kind of carried you over the last nine months or so and all the staff that has done a great job for the city, I’m looking forward to working with them, with you, with the community,” Luckino said.

The city of Desert Hot Springs began looking for a new city manager earlier this year after former City Manager Luke Rainey resigned. Deputy City Manager Doria Wilms has been filling the role on an interim basis since February.

“We owe a huge debt of thanks to Doria Wilms, for everything this summer — getting us through the floods, getting us through the fires, getting us to everything else,” Councilmember Gary Gardner said. “We couldn’t have done it without you Doria, and we’re looking forward to seeing how things move and improve in the city.”

Matas said Luckino will receive $235,000 annually, deferred compensation of $12,000, an auto allowance of $7,200, standard paid time off and insurance contribution as a city employee.

“I just want to thank my family, because that is really who I am is right there,” he said looking at his family in the audience. “That support allows me to work with you, the staff and the community.”

A video of the meeting can be found here on the city’s YouTube page.

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