With all the coming’s and going’s in California local government, it can be hard to keep track of where your friends are or what’s happening in your neighboring municipalities. But Trackdown Management helps keep the state up-to-date with their newsletter.

PublicCEO presents his Picking Up the Pieces:

Former Assistant City Manager in Paramount and Norwalk and other places, Sandy Groves and his wife, the former Fremont City Manager Jan Perkins, spend their time between Santa Fe, New Mexico and their home in Laguna Beach. Sandy says that he has moved his “clay studio” to Laguna Beach, where they are spending more time these days.

Red Bluff City Manager Martin Nichols will soon be leaving the city to assume the post of Chief Administrative Officer in Lassen County.

Former State Senator Ruben Ayala, 89, passed away January 4, 2012 in Ontario. He served in the State Senate from 1974 until 1998, and was the long-time Chair of the Agriculture and Water Committee. His district included the cities of Ontario, Fontana, Rialto, Colton, Chino and Pomona. He was a member of the Legislative Marine Brigade with Pete Wilson, Bill Craven and Don Rogers. Ruben was first elected to the Chino School Board and then the Chino City Council and he was the first elected Mayor of Chino in 1964. He later served on the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors prior to being elected to the Senate.

Sacramento Bee writer Dan Walters says that Sacramento should be reorganized to a “strong-mayor” government. He says that professional city Managers make sense for small and medium-size cities, but he contends there is a “tipping point, both of size and cultural complexity” when a popularly elected official is needed to run the city government. Dan has been a journalist for more than a half-century.

If you have not yet read it, please take a look at the “Encore! Encore!” article in the January/February, 2012 issue of PM Magazine authored by retired City Managers Kevin O’Rourke, Michael Garvey, Rod Wood and Frank Benest.

Riverbank Interim City Manager Pam Carder, who has served the city since former City Manager Rich Holmer was relieved of duty in April, 2010, will soon be relieved when the City Council makes a permanent replacement decision.

Gustine City Manager Greg Greeson, echoing the words of City Managers throughout California, agrees that the disappointing State Supreme Court ruling that allows the State to abolish redevelopment agencies is a significant setback to local project funding.

Interim City Manager Lamont Ewell has submitted his resignation to the Compton City Council noting that he feels it inappropriate to remain on the city payroll knowing that the city is struggling to meet its financial obligations.

Menlo Park Assistant City Manager Starla Jerome Robinson has served as Interim City Manager since the retirement of City Manager Glen Rojas last year.

Concord City Manager Dan Keen has been selected to take the Vallejo City Manager post following the normal background check. Dan has served as the Concord City Manager since 2008. Prior to joining the Concord staff Dan served as City Manager in Novato.

Woodlake City Manager Bill Lewis has announced that he will retire effective June 21, 2012. Prior to joining the Woodlake staff in 1996, Bill had been the Assistant Finance Director in Lancaster. He began his career in Culver City and worked as an Accounting Manager in Redondo Beach prior to his Lancaster assignment.

Sara Russo, a graduate student in public administration at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), has been awarded the inaugural Wes McClure Scholarship, which is presented by the California City Management Foundation (CCMF). Atascadero City Manager Wade McKinney is the current CCMF President. Sara Is currently an Administrative Intern in Redondo Beach.

Rohnert Park Director of Administrative Services Sandy Lipitz has confirmed that she advised City Manager Gabe Gonzalez that she is retiring immediately. Sandy worked for the City more than 21-years.

City Manager Scott Ochoa sat through his first Glendale City Council meeting as City Manager on January 10. The former Monrovia City Manager began his city service experiences when he work in the Azusa Parks and Recreation Department as a teenager.

Past MMASC President John Keisler is the new Long Beach Business Operations Bureau Manager.

Mammoth Community Water District officials have adopted a creek fishery management plan calling for a taking of Mammoth Creek water to supply a 50 percent increase in Mammoth Lakes water use by 2030. The City of Los Angeles has sued the district asserting that it owns the water in Mammoth Creek, and has since 1905, and that Mammoth Lakes residents do not have the legal right to drink it. Mammoths Lakes Water Manager Greg Norby has said that the Los Angeles claim is based on an erroneous reading of the State law.

Recently retired veteran City Manager Richard Ramirez has been appointed to serve as the new Interim General Manager of the El Dorado Hills Community Services District. Rich retired last November as City Manager in American Canyon. He has a BA from Humboldt State University and an MPA from USC.

Retired Burlingame City Manager Jim Nantell, who retired effective December 31, has been appointed to serve as “Interim City Manager” during the recruitment for his replacement.

Former Concord City Manager Farrel A.”Bud” Stewart died December 31, 2011 near Sacramento at the age of 89. Bud first went to work in Concord in 1953 as City Engineer and was appointed City Manager in 1960, where he served until his retirement in 1986. He returned to the Concord City Manager post in an “interim” capacity from 1992 to 1994. He was born in Fresno and grew up in Coalinga. He earned his civil engineering degree at the University of California, Berkeley. Bud enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1943 and was deployed to Europe during World War II. He returned to California and was awarded a Purple Heart and World War II Victory Medal, and retired as a Major in 1964.

Our apologies to Arvin City Manager Tim Chapa, who earned a BA in Quantitative Economics from Stanford University. Tim also has an MBA from Santa Clara. Tim says that he attend Stanford while Santa Cruz City Manager Martin Bernal was a student there. Tim has served as the Arvin City Manager since June, 2011.

After 33-years with the City, Rancho Mirage City Manager Patrick Pratt, 60, announced his retirement, and Community Development Director Randal Bynder has been offered the post.

Dixon has appointed an 11-member Citizens Committee, with two alternates, to aid in the hiring of the next Dixon City Manager.

One of John W. Simpson‘s favorite country songs was “Blanket On The Ground” by singer Billie Jo Spears. Billie Jo passed away at the age of 74 on December 14, 2010. John Simpson is Trackdown’s Jack Simpson‘s late father.

Patterson City Manager Rod Butler said that he expects an official announcement in a week or two about Amazon.com establishing a local distribution center and bringing some 1,500-jobs to the city. Patterson is located just east of Interstate-5 west of Modesto.