At long last, Long Beach has a permanent city manager


The new Long Beach City Council held its first regular meeting on Jan. 2, and one of its first orders of business was to appoint a new city manager, Long Beach resident Dan Creighton.

Police Commissioner Ron Walsh had served as acting city manager for the past 11 months.

Creighton never applied for the job, but was instead recruited — sort of. Creighton had worked as a volunteer for new council members Brendan Finn, Chris Fiumara and Mike Reinhart during their winning campaigns last fall, as they examined the city’s finances.

“We were crunching budgetary numbers … and Dan was helpful with that,” Finn said. “We met him, and we discussed the city manager job, and he had already previously interviewed for the city manager job in 2020.

“Once we saw his resume, I have to tell you, I was basically knocked out,” Finn added. “He does financial, he’s worked capital projects, he’s worked with unions, he’s worked with construction — all the things that have to be incorporated into the city manager job.” Finn concluded, “It just became very evident to us that Dan was the man we wanted.”

Creighton, 53, had run unsuccessfully for City Council in 2021, which, he said, gave him some insight into how to do the city manager’s job.

“I thought I really knew the city,” he said, “but when you get out and you knock on everybody’s door, and you talk to them, and you really get to know what’s going on, you really get different perspectives. It was an eye-opening experience for me, and it was really good to meet all the different parts of the city and see what their issues were, as opposed to other areas. Until you know all the areas, you’re really at a disadvantage. So it was a really good learning experience for me, and it was perfect for this position.”

Creighton grew up in Middle Village, Queens. He attended Xavier High School, in Manhattan, and Carnegie Mellon University, earning degrees in civil engineering, and engineering and public policy, in 1992. He added a master’s in business administration from Baruch College in 2005.

He has lived in Long Beach for eight years with his wife and high school sweetheart, Annmarie, and their three children.

After graduating from Carnegie Mellon, Creighton was a civil engineer for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection for five years, before becoming a senior engineer and director of construction at the Westchester Community College Medical Center in Valhalla. He was a senior project manager at the NYU School of Medicine, and the director of engineering at St. Johns Queens Hospital.

He worked in a number of jobs for the United States Department of Transportation, and, most recently, was a vice president and business unit lead for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. He also founded two companies, Operational Dynamics Solutions and Mechanical and Life Safety Solutions.

“I had a very good position with the MTA,” Creighton said. “It was a hard decision to leave. I was only two and a half years from lifetime benefits. It was a very difficult decision, but it’s the right thing. I love Long Beach, and I really think that I can make a difference.”

He served on the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals from 2017 through 2023.

Creighton’s appointment did not go unquestioned by City Council member Roy Lester, as well as some residents, at the Jan. 2 meeting.

“Unfortunately, I have not been able to interview him for this position or see his resume,” Lester said. “To my knowledge, Dan has never had a political position or dealt with a municipality in the position we now want to place him in. This is not to say he’s not capable, but the procedure seems to be indicative of a pure partisan decision-making process.”

Resident Eileen Hession welcomed the three new council members, but said she was disappointed that they had hired a permanent city manager on their first day on the job, without an extensive interviewing process.

“I have not seen Mr. Creighton at a council meeting since 2021, when he ran for the council and lost,” Hession said. “He lives in Westholme, but I’ve never seen him at a Westholme Civic meeting. In your campaign,” Hession added, addressing Finn, Fiumara and Reinhart, “you promised transparency, which means an open and honest government. Have you already forgotten this promise?”

“You know, I think the proof is in the pudding,” Creighton said later, when asked about Hession’s comments. “I have to prove it, and I have to earn it. I’m a big believer in you don’t take people just for what they say, but what they can do. Let them prove it. It’s going to take a couple of months to prove it, but I’m sure people will have a different opinion when they get to know what I can accomplish and what I do accomplish.”