Trackdown Management’s City Manager Newsletter: Volume No. 13, Issue No. 21

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. 

Peter Pirnejad is the new City Manager in the City of Foster City. Peter is a former Assistant City Manager in Napa and the Development Services Director for the City of Palo Alto. Peter is succeeding City Manager Jeff Moneda, who resigned. Peter is a former President of the Planning Department group of the League of California Cities. He earned a BA in environmental studies and geography from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a Master’s and Doctorate in policy, planning and development from the University of Southern California (USC).

San Pablo Assistant City Manager Reina Schwartz is the new City Manager in the City of Clayton in Contra Costa County. She takes the position from Interim City Manager Frances Robustelli. Reina began her public service career as a fiscal analyst with the California Legislative Analyst’s Office, and then worked 24-years with the City of Sacramento, serving in various posts, including 11-years as the Director of the Department of General Services. Reina then served 5 and a half years with the City of San Pablo. She earned an MPA from Harvard University.

Desert Hot Springs City Manager Charles Maynard announced his plans to retire at the end of the year. He will, however, serve as Interim City Manager for the first 6-months of 2021. Charles became the Desert Hot Springs City Manager in November 2016. He began his public service career in law enforcement, serving in the Cities of San Anselmo and Cathedral City.

Cupertino City Manager Deborah Feng hosts virtual meetings with residents and business operators. She held a virtual meeting on November 20. The hour session continues a series Deb has done as a forum to discuss topics of the public’s choice. It is an attempt to connect with residents about issues important to them. Before joining the city staff Deb was a longtime administrator at the NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field.

Paso Robles City Manager Tom Frutchey has announced his retirement after serving in that post for the past 5-years. His last day on the job will be February 3. Tom began his public service career in the City of Mountain View (1982-1989). He served as the Los Altos Hills Town Manager (1989-1991); Campbell City Manager (1991-1992); Oxnard Assistant City Manager (1992-1993); Oxnard City Manager (1993-1997); and Pacific Grove City Manager (2009-2016). He started in Paso Robles in January, 2016. Tom earned a BA from Darmouth College, and a Masters degree from the University of California, Berkeley. In 2019 Tom received a 25-year ICMA Service Award.

Calabasas has named veteran retired City Manager Don Penman to replace Ray Taylor as the Interim City Manager in the city. Ray, a retired Westlake Village City Manager, has worked in the position since May. Don retired as the Arcadia City Manager in 2012. Since his retirement, Don has served as the Interim City Manager in San Fernando, Temple City, Azusa, Covina and Ventura.

Bellflower Director of Parks and Recreation PJ Mellana is the owner of Dreams Farmhouse, a Cooperstown Vacation Rental in Coopersown, New York; home of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Prior to joining the Bellflower city staff as a Recreation Supervisor II in 2006; he worked as a Community Services Supervisor in the City of Glendale (2005-2006). PJ served in the Recreation Department of San Ramon from 2001 to 2005. He earned a BS from California State University, Hayward, and an MS in organizational leadership from National University.

Manteca Interim Director of Finance Stephanie Beauchaine, who was hired for a six-month tenure in August, may become Finance Director through the end of 2021. Stephanie has served as a Consulting CFO and Municipal Finance Consultant for the past two years, starting in 2018.

Los Altos City Manager Chris Jordan has announced his resignation after four years in his position. Chris previously served as the City Manager in West Linn, Oregon. Deputy City Manager Jon Maginot will take over as the Acting City Manager effective December 6, while an executive recruitment is conducted for the post.

Stephanie Dietz is the new City Manager in the City of Merced. Stephanie has worked for Merced since 2017. She served as Assistant City Manager and filled the Interim City Manager position following the termination of City Manager Steve Carrigan in July 2020. Prior to coming to the City of Merced, Stephanie was a Personnel Analyst for the University of California, Merced (2009- 2012), and a Fiscal Manager for the Human Services Agency of Merced County (2012-2017). She earned a BA from California State University, Fresno, and an MA in English language and literature from National University.

Lomita Human Resources Analyst Deborah Dixon joined the Lomita city staff in October 2018. She previously worked for the cities of Gardena (2009-2015) and Torrance (2015-2016) in their Human Resources groups. Deborah also worked in a number of private-sector human resources assignments. She earned a BA from California State University, Dominguez Hills and an MPA from California State University, Long Beach.

Born May 20, 1949, the late Robert L. Fleming worked for the Cities of Torrance, Rancho Palos Verdes, Hawaiian Gardens, Bellflower and Walnut before moving to a lobbyist position with the private sector. He became a contract lobbyist for Boeing Aircraft. Robert served in the United States Air Force (1968-1971), before earning an AA from El Camino College, and a BA from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Robert, a heavy smoker, passed away as a result of cancer.

Condolences to family and friends of former Los Angeles CAO Keith Comrie on his passing.

Fresno has selected the city’s 22nd Chief of Police, Paco Balderrama, who comes to Fresno from Oklahoma City, where he has worked in law enforcement for the past 22-years.

Melanie James of Tripepi Smith led a project in collaboration with Walnut Administrative Services Director Karen Ogawa to develop and launched a web page for the San Gabriel Valley City Managers Association (SGVCMA).

Fran Robustelli will serve as the San Leandro Interim City Manager beginning December 21.

Robert Masterson has been confirmed as the new Atascadero Chief of Police to replace retired Chief Jerel Haley.

Retiring Manteca Council Member Debby Moorhead gives Manteca City Manager Miranda Lutzow high marks and dismisses social media criticism of the city manager and her executive staff.

The Cities of Tulare and Visalia, and the Tulare Irrigation District are perfect partners, as they are all located in the Kaweah Sub-Basin.

Actor/Director Clinton Eastwood Jr. was born on May 31, 1930 in San Francisco.

Colusa City Manager Jesse Cain is also the City’s Public Works Administrator and is thought to be the highest-paid administrator for cities with a population around 6,000.

Steve Baker served as the City Manager in Suisun City for more than 16-years (1988-2004), and for the past nearly 11-years he has served as the Yreka City Manager.

Cotati City Manager Damien E. O’Bid was appointed in May 2015 after he worked as the City’s Director of Public Works.

New Rocklin City Manager Alexandra “Aly” Zimmermann was appointed in October 2020 after serving as the Assistant City Manager in the City of Vista in San Diego County.

Susan West-Jones was appointed Finance Manager in the City of Pismo Beach in January 1999, after working as the Accounting Supervisor in Coalinga (1993-1999).

Robert Masterson is the new Atascadero Chief of Police replacing the retired Chief Jerel Haley.