Trackdown Management’s City Manager Newsletter: Volume No. 13, Issue No. 9

Trackdown ManagementFor over 13 years, Jack Simpson’s Trackdown Management has published the City Manager Newsletter. Jack is a retired city manager and former Willdan executive. His newsletter content weaves together the personal side of the profession in California and helps keep the city manager community, especially retired city managers, connected with each other. 

San Dimas City Manager Kenneth Duran was placed on paid administrative leave this month, and later decided to retire after a 34-year public service career with the city. Assistant City Manager Brad McKinney was named Acting City Manager. Ken was appointed San Dimas City Manager in December 2018. He joined the San Dimas city staff in 1986 as a Senior Recreation Supervisor. He became the Assistant City Manager in 1993. He earned a BA from California State University, Fullerton. In 2016 Ken received the CalPERS Spotlight on Excellence Award. Brad previously work for Anaheim (2008-2011), Claremont as Assistant to the City Manager (2011-2016), Rosemead Assistant City Manager (2016-2018), Alhambra Assistant City Manager and he was appointed San Dimas Assistant City Manager in June 2019. Brad earned a BBA and MBA from Azusa Pacific University, where he was a pitcher on the baseball team.

Agoura Hills City Manager Greg Ramirez has been selected to be the next Camarillo City Manager effective July 1. Greg, a resident of Thousand Oaks, will replace retired Camarillo City Manager Dave Norman. Assistant City Manager Carmen Nichols has been serving as the Interim City Manager. Greg, who previously worked with the League of California Cities, was appointed Agoura Hills City Manager in November 2003. He earned a BS in economics from California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo and an MS in economics from California State University, Hayward.

Chico City Manager Mark Orme is considering the appointment of an Interim Chief of Police following the retirement of Chief Michael O’Brien. The Chief is set for a last work day of June 5. Executive “…recruitments linked to the general fund (are) on hold,” Mark said, as a result of the revenue shortfall caused by reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic.

McFarland Interim City Manager Larry Pennell has submitted his resignation due to personal medical issues. Larry has experienced increasing back pain and mobility issues, and will soon undergo back surgery, which will require months of physical therapy as part of his recovery. Larry’s resignation goes into effect on May 29. Larry served as the City Manager of Benicia (1973- 1979), Galt (1987-1988), and Chief Administrative Officer in Modoc County (1991-1993) and retired as the Wasco City Manager (1994-2007). He began his public service career in 1969 as an Administrative Assistant in Fairfield. In 2006, Larry received a 30-year ICMA Service Award. Larry is an alumnus of San Jose State University with a BA and Masters degrees.

Calabasas City Manager Dr. Gary J. Lysik resigned for personal reasons in May 2020. Public Works Director Robert Yalda is serving as the Interim City Manager. Gary previously served as the Calabasas Chief Financial Officer for 15-years (2003-2018). He served as City Manager for two-years (2018-2020). Gary earned a Certificate in accounting from the University of California, Los Angeles, an MBA from The George L. Graziadio School of Business and Management at Pepperdine University, and a Doctor of Education from Pepperdine University.

Cerritos City Council Member and former Mayor Jim Edwards passed away as a result of cancer at his home on Sunday, May 10. Jim was 75-years old. He served with distinction as a teacher, coach and administrator for more than 30-years with the ABC Unified School District. Jim was a U. S. Army veteran and spent one year “in country” during the Vietnam War. Jim served two-terms as Mayor of Cerritos (2008-2009) and (2012-2013). Jim was first elected to the City Council 2005 and he was re-elected in 2009. He was elected again in 2015 and in 2020. He was a Cerritos resident for more than 43-years.

Placerville Chief of Police James Ortega has mutually agreed with City Manager Cleve Morris to separate his employment from the Police Department. Chief Ortega worked as the Placerville Chief for about three-years after retiring as a Captain with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department in 2017.

The late Todd W. Argow began his public service career in January 1977 as an Administrative Analyst in the City of San Diego. After working in executive positions in Oceanside and Saratoga, Todd was appointed City Manager in the City of South Gate in February 1991. Todd later served as the City Manager in Hawthorne. He earned an AA from Riverside City College, a BS from California Baptist College, and an MPA from San Diego State University. Todd died at the age of 53 at Riverside Community Hospital in November 2005 as a result of a gunshot wound sustained November 15 during a confrontation with Riverside police.

Roy Eugene Poertner worked as an Administrative Intern in Seal Beach (1964-1965) and Cypress (1965-1967), and he worked as an Administrative Assistant for Cypress (1967-1971). He served as the City Administrator in Farmersville from August 1971, and he began his tenure as the City Manager in Brentwood in January 1973. Gene earned a BA and MS from California State University, Long Beach. Gene passed away in December 2003 at the age of 61.

San Clemente Acting Mayor Laura Ferguson criticizes Interim City Manager Dr. Robert Dunek for temporarily locking the doors to the City Council Chambers and to use Zoom for meetings consistent with the county and State guidelines for social distancing. The Acting Mayor said, “This is beyond outrageous, this is one of the worst examples of nonelected bureaucrats using the COVID-19 crisis as a political too.” Dr. Robert Dunek is a veteran City Manager and held in very high esteem in professional City Manager circles. San Clemente Assistant City Manager Erik Sund reports that the size and layout of the council chambers makes it difficult to enforce social distancing guidelines.

Former Anaheim City Manager Chris Zapata, who resigned in April, received a severance package of $475,000. Chris became City Manager in July 2018. He joined the city staff with a five-year employment agreement. He received a positive review and a raise last August. Assistant City Manager Greg Garcia is currently the Interim City Manager.

Half Moon Bay, in order to close a budget deficit created by the COVID-19 crisis, has eliminated six positions, resulting in five layoffs, and all department heads, including City Manager Bob Nisbet will receive 10% compensation reductions. Former City Manager Magda Gonzalez resigned in 2017. Bob is known as an avid bicycle rider.

Santa Monica Assistant City Manager and Chief Operating Officer Katie Kichtig will retire at the end of May 2020. Her last day will be May 29th. Katie has served as the Assistant City Manager since December 2018. She previously worked as the City Manager in Malibu (2001-2006) and San Luis Obispo (2010-2017). Katie served as the Assistant City Manager in Beverly Hills from 2006 to 2010. Katie earned a BA from the University of California, Davis and an MPA from Syracuse University. In 2017 she received a 25-year ICMA Service Award.

Eureka City Manager Dean Lotter has submitted his resignation. He was placed on administrative leave earlier in the month of May. Pam Powell is the Acting City Manager. Dean previously served as the City Manager in New Brighton, Minnesota (2007-2019) and City Administrator in Minnetrista, Minnesota (2001-2007), Janesville (1999-2001) and Sherburn, Minnesota (1996-1999). He earned a BA from the University of Wisconsin and a Masters from Mankato State University.

Retired City and County Manager Roy Pederson, a past President of ICMA, earned a BA in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and an MA in government from California State University, Los Angeles. Roy is also a graduate of the Core Foundation Fellowship in Public Affairs. Roy began his public service career with his service in the U.S. Army (1952-1954). He served as an Administrative Assistant in Rosemead (1960-1961); Assistant City Administrator in La Mirada (1961-1964); before he was appointed City Manager in Porterville (1964-1969). He then served as the City Administrator in Montebello (1969-1980); City Manager in Scottsdale, Arizona (1980-1988); City Manager of Colorado Springs, Colorado (1989-1990); County Manager in Maricopa County, Arizona (1990-1994); and CAO in Yolo County (1995-1998). Roy took a couple “Interim” positions following his retirement. In 1997 Roy received a 35-year ICMA Service Award.

Los Alamitos City Council Member and former Mayor Dean Grose worked as a Public Information Officer in the City of Anaheim (1972- 1983).

Bellflower Finance Specialist Veronica Yates has done course work in sociology at Califonria State University, Long Beach.

Management consultant and executive recruiter Teri Black earned an MPA from the University of Southern California (USC).

Theresa Bruns has served as the San Dimas Director of Parks and Recreation since April 2016.

Lauren Marshall joined the San Dimas city staff as an Administrative Aide in June 2019.

Former Blue Lake, California City Manager (2010-2016) John D. Berchtold received a 40-year ICMA Service Award in 2014.

Arroyo Grande Public Works Director Bill Robeson is the Acting City Manager following the resignation of City Manager Jim Bergman.

Lawrence E. Olson served as the City Manager in Ventura from May 1948 until June 1961

Linda Kelly, who retired in 2017, served as City Manager for 11-plus years in the Town of Fairfax (2006-2008); City of Sonoma (2008-2012)

Deborah Collins began her working career in Sausalito as an Administrative Assistant with an information technology and services firm in 1983. In 1984 she went to work as a software support technician for an on-line software systems company in Chico. She joined the Chico city staff in 1994 as Community Services Officer (CSO), and in 2001 she took a Management Analyst with the Chico Police Department. In 2009 she moved to the City Manager’s Office in a Management Analyst post. Deborah earned a BA in social work from California State University, Chico, and an MS in law from Champlain College. and Town of Windsor (2012-2017), and now has relocated to the Greater Seattle Area.

Vanessa Sanchez has served as a Management Intern in the office of Bellflower City Manager Jeff Stewart, and she has earned a BA from the University of California, Berkeley and an MPA from California State University, Long Beach.

Senior Coordinator Linda Zavala is responsible for the excellent Sanger Senior Services.

Thomas L. Tynes, who earned an MPA from California State University, Long Beach, began serving as the Assistant City Manager in Union City in July 1982.

Millbrae City Manager Tom Williams confirms that Millbrae officials have repeatedly issued concerns with State Transportation Official regarding the High-Speed Rail project’s impact on their community with little interest shown by the State.

San Jose Deputy City Manager Kim Walesh earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and the humanities fro Valparaiso University and an MPP from Harvard University.

Santa Clara Director of Communications Lenka Wright, a former News Broadcast Anchor, is described as a dynamic, media-savvy communicator.