Trackdown Management’s City Manager Newsletter: Volume No. 14, Issue No. 3

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. 

Longtime city employee Marwan Youssef is the new Westminster City Manager. He has been serving as the Westminster Director of Public Works. Marwan came to Westminster in December 1988 as the Public Works Director and City Engineer. Prior to that he served the City of La Habra as an Assistant Civil Engineer. He earned a BS and MS in civil engineering and structural engineering from the University of Louisiana, Lafayette. He also earned a Ph.D. from the University of California, Irvine.

City Manager Catrina Olson of Nevada City has left office following a job performance evaluation. Catrina became City Manager in 2018 following the resignation of former City Manager Mark Prestwich, who is currently the City Manager in St. Helena. Catrina had served as the Assistant City Manager from 2013. She started with the City at the Finance Manager in 2007.

Hercules City Manager David Biggs will leave his position at the end of March to assume the post of City Manager in the City of Orinda. David has been the Hercules City Manager since 2014. David previously served as the City Manager in Morgan Hill (1992-1995), Tustin (2010-2011), Carson (2011-2013), and Assistant City Manager in Redondo Beach (2005- 2011). He held other positions in Santa Ana, Long Beach, Huntington Beach and South Australia, SA. David earned a BA from California State University, Fullerton and an MBA from the University of California, Irvine. In 2015 he received a 35-year ICMA Service Award.

Del Mar City Manager Christa L. “CJ” Johnson was placed on administrative leave with pay. The City did not immediately provide further details. Administrative Services Director Ashley Jones is serving as Acting City Manager. CJ is a former Assistant City Manager in Laguna Beach, where she served for eight years. She was appointed in Del Mar to fill in behind the retiring City Manager Scott Huth. She has been with the city for about a year.

Paradise Assistant to the Town Manager Colette Curtis received the 2021 John H. Nail Award from the City Managers Department of the League of California Cities. The Award is presented annually to an outstanding municipal assistant. Colette came to work for the Town of Paradise some 8-years ago. Colette’s working career began in 2003 in the private sector. She earned a BA in political science from the University of California, Berkeley.

Former Del Rey Oaks City Manager Daniel Dawson, 61, has been ordered by Judge Andrew G. Liu in a restitution hearing following Daniel’s felony conviction, to pay $72,000 to the City for violating Government Code Section 1090. Daniel was found guilty of entering into a contract for the Garden Center’s well in his capacity as City Manager while having a direct financial interest in a lot he purchased. Jeffery J. Hoyne is the Del Rey Oaks Acting City Manager.

Santa Barbara City Administrator Paul Casey appointed Rebecca Bjork to the Assistant City Administrator position. She currently serves in Santa Barbara as the Interim Community Development Director, responsibilities she will retain along with her new Assistant City Administrator duties. Rebecca has worked for the City of Santa Barbara for the past 32-years. She most recently served as the Director of Public Works. She earned a BA from Grinnell College and an MPA from California State University, Northridge.

Janay Duran McKinney, wife of San Dimas Assistant City Manager Brad McKinney, was a junior midfielder on the 1998 Azusa Pacific University Cougars’ women’s soccer team that earned a 24-0-1 season record, and won the GSAC Championship, the first in the Azusa Pacific program’s history. The Cinderella team went on to win the NBAIA National Title for the 1998 season.

After 18 years with the CJPIA, Administrative Programs Manager Tammie Haller announced her retirement in December 2020. During her tenure with the Authority, Tammie oversaw administrative and support operations, including human resources, benefits, personnel policies, and recruitments, as well as directed the Authority’s facilities and maintenance operations and safety programs. California JPIA’s Alex Smith, who began his Authority tenure in March 2009 as Finance Director, has been promoted from Chief Financial Officer to Deputy Executive Officer. Alex will engage more substantively throughout the organization, assuming responsibilities for supervising human resources, insured programs, and maintenance, as well as underwriting and onboarding new members. He also will continue to oversee finance operations.

Former Barstow City Manager Nikki M. Salas has joined the CJPI Authority as Human Resources Manager. She previously served as Director of Human Resources for Napa County, Senior Human Resources analyst for Riverside County, and Assistant Human Resources Division Manager for the San Bernardino County Special Districts Department. She was recognized as the 2015 California JPIA Capstone Award Winner for Excellence in Risk Management for her work as Assistant Town Manager for the Town of Apple Valley. She earned a BA in business administration from California State University, San Bernardino, MBA from the University of Redlands, and Ed.D. in organizational leadership from Brandman University.

Malibu City Manager Reva Feldman does not anticipate completing her term. She will resign because of “unprecedented personal and professional attacks by Council Member Bruce Silverstein.” This was stated in a four-page letter dated January 16 by Reva’s attorney. Her employment agreement is set to expire in May 2022. She is willing to stay on as City Manager until the City finds a successor. She seeks a $375,000 buyout with benefits and a non-disparagement agreement by the City.

Sacramento Deputy Fire Chief Chad Augustin has been appointed to be the new Fire Chief in the City of Pasadena effective February 22. Chad began his career as a Sacramento firefighter paramedic and rose through the ranks over the past 20-years. Pasadena City Manager Steven Mermell praises the new Chief’s “…impressive qualifications and well-rounded experience…” The new Chief earned a BA from Waldort University, and a Master of Legal Studies from the University of Arizona.

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg wishes to reject City Manager Howard Chan’s proposal to add new police officer positions to the city budget. Howard proposes to add 10 new sworn officers. Mayor Steinberg says the money should be spent on affordable housing, youth programs and participatory budgeting. Tim Davis, President of the Sacramento Police Officers Association says that police officers are exhausted from a long year of increased violent crime, dealing with the pandemic and consistent mandatory overtime due to protests and riots.

John Russo of SynchroniCITY Associates was primarily responsible for bringing the Cheech Marin Centre for Arts, Culture and Industry to the City of Riverside during his tenure as City Manager.

Wildomar City Manager Gary F. Nordquist began his public service career in 1990 as an Administrative Analyst in the City of Fontana.

Storm surf and high winds have once again uncovered the SS Monte Carlo that crashed onto Coronado beach on January 1, 1937.

Frank Kennedy is the current City Administrator in the City of Williams, home to Granzellas Gourmet & Gifts, a famous sandwich shop on I-5.

Martinez City Manager Eric Figueroa is a past President of the Municipal Management Association of Northern California (MMANC) (2005), and he is a former member of the Board of Trustees for the California City Management Foundation (CCMF).

Prior to becoming the Fairfield City Manager in December 2019, US Air Force veteran Stefan Chatwin served as the City Manager in the City of Imperial and Santaquin, Utah.

Cerritos, San Dimas and La Cañada Flintridge City Attorney Mark W. Steres, an alumnus of UCLA and USC, retired effective December 31.

Compton Assistant City Manager Michael Antwine served as the Assistant City Manager in the City of Novato from September 2017 to October 2019.

League of California Cities Los Angeles Public Affairs Manager and Legislative Director Kristine Guerrero earned a BA from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and an MPA from the University of Southern California (USC).

Signal Hill City Manager Hannah Shin-Heydorn earned an MS in management from the Naval Postgraduate School.

Sierra Madre City Manager Gabriel Engeland previously served as the City Manager in Trinidad, Colorado.

Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis is the first woman elected Lt. Governor of California.

George Lewis served as City Administrator in Cascade Locks (1987-1997) and Dundee, Oregon (1997-2001) prior to becoming the Williams City Administrator and Planning Director (2001-2003).