Trackdown Management’s City Manager newsletter: Volume No. 14, Issue No. 16

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.

Dunsmuir City Manager Todd Juhasz is the new Mount Shasta City Manager replacing City Manager Bruce Pope, who retired in July. Mount Shasta Finance Director Muriel Howarth Terrell has been serving as Interim City Manager. Todd has worked as the Dunsmuir City Manager for the past two-years. He served in the United States Air Force from August 1984 to December 1991.

Former Palm Springs City Manager David H. Ready was awarded the Wes McClure City Manager’s Award of Distinction from the League of California Cities City Managers’ Department in February 2021. The award is named for Wes McClure, the former City Manager of San Leandro, whose contributions to city management were substantial over his long career. David retired after serving as the Palm Springs City Manager for nearly 21-years. David earned a Juris Doctorate in Law and a Ph.D. in political science. He teaches public administration part-time as an adjunct faculty member at California State University, San Bernardino. David’s last day at City Hall was April 1. Sedona, Arizona City Manager Justin Clifton became the Palm Springs City Manager in April.

Former Turlock City Manager Toby Wells is the new Manteca City Manager starting this month. Toby was the Turlock City Manager between April 2020 and May 2021. Retired Modesto Chief of Police Mike Harden has served as the Manteca Interim City Manager since April. Prior to working in Turlock, Toby served as the City Manager in Ceres for 6-years. Toby is the fourth “non-interim” city manager in Manteca in the past 5-years. The last City Manager was Miranda Lutzow, who resigned in February.

Mark Denny has announced his resignation as the City Manager in the City of Fontana. He has served 17- months on the job. He became City Manager in April 2020. He has accepted a position in the private sector closer to his San Clemente home. Mark was the Director of Parks for the County of Orange (2008- 2013), and the Chief Operating Office of Orange County (2013-2016). In 2016 he was hired to be the Dana Point Deputy City Manager, and in 2017 he was elevated to City Manager. When he left Dana Point, he took the Fontana City Manager job in April, 2020. Mark earned a BA from California State University, Fullerton.

Vacaville City Manager Aaron Busch was elevated from the Assistant City Manager position when City Manager Jeremy Craig was dismissed in 2017. Aaron came to Vacaville after serving two-plus years as the Director of Community Development in Rancho Cordova. Previous to that he work in Yuba City, Rosevalle and Rancho Mirage. Aaron earned a BA in geography with an emphasis in urban planning from California State University, Fresno.

Portola City Manager Lauren Barrera Knox was appointed city manager in October 2019. Lauren moved to Portola at the age of 4. She graduated from Portola High School as valedictorian and she served as the Student body President. Lauren earned a BS in city and regional planning from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. She worked as an intern for the City of Reno, Nevada and for the Truckee Meadows Regional Planning Agency (TMRPA). She was hired by TMRPA as a Regional Planner and was promoted to Senior Planner.

Weed City Manager Tim Rundel was appointed to his position in February 2020 to replace retired City Manager Ron Stock, a former Trackdown Posse member. Tim began his public service career in 2001. Previous to coming to Weed, he served as the City Manager in Durant, Oklahoma (2016-2019). He also worked in Auburn and Midwest City, Oklahoma. Tim earned a BA from Northwestern Oklahoma State University, and an MPA from the University of Oklahoma. He served 6-years in the Airforce and the Oklahoma Air National Guard.

Former Public Works Director in the City of Wasco, Biridiana Bishop is the new Assistant City Manager in Webster City, Iowa. While in Wasco, Biri worked in the Community Development Department as a Planner prior to her promotion to Public Works Director. Biri earned a BA from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and an MBA from California State University, Bakersfield.

Retired Chino Hills City Manager Douglas LaBelle serves as the Vice-Chair for the Board of Directors of the Orange County Fair & Event Center. Prior to serving as the Chino Hills City Manager (1995-2009), Doug was the City Manager in Signal Hill. He began his public service career in 1964 and worked in various positions with the cities of Garden Grove, Cerritos, Huntington Beach, La Mesa and Marysville. Doug is a past Chair of the Knapp Golf Classic Committee which raised funds for the Huntington’s Disease Society of America in memory of retired Cerritos and Lake Forest City Manager Gaylord Knapp. Doug is a Trackdown Posse member.

Former South Gate City Manager Gary Milliman is currently serving as Interim City Manager in Ashland, Oregon, (pop. 21,000) home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Southern Oregon University. Gary reports that the City Council dysfunction there has subsided and he is looking for someone to step into his shoes for the next several months as recruitment for the City’s first-ever nonInterim City Manager is underway. Contact Gary at (541) 813-9267 or

Turlock Interim City Manager Sarah Eddy has taken a medical leave of absence. She recommended that Interim Municipal Services Director Dan Madden be made Acting City Manager to cover for her. Sarah took over for Interim City Manager Gary Hamption in May 2021. City Manager Toby Wells began his service in Turlock in March 2020, but his contract was terminated and he is now the new City Manager in Manteca.

*Retired City Manager and Director of Parks and Recreation Kevin Miller is the Interim City Manager following the recent dismissal of City Manager Peter Pirnejad in Foster City.

*June W. Catalano, a former CCMF Board Member, served as the Martinez City Manager (2001-2006) prior to her appointment as the City Manager of the City of Pleasant Hill in 2006.

*After working for the police department since 2003, Jake Castellow is the new Porterville Chief of Police.

*Bob Adams, retired City Manager, has taken the Interim City Manager assignment in the City of Tracy, while the city recruits with applications closing on October 8.

*Willdan recently gave Senior Vice President Frank G. Tripepi, a retired City Manager, a special tribute dinner for his fine work with the firm.

*Tammy Alcantor has given her notice that she plans to retire from her City Manager post in the City of Escalon*Marc Mitchell of Cerrell Associates received the 2020 CCMF Corporate Sponsor Award.

*Santa Rosa City Manager Sean McGlynn won the 2020 CCMF City Manager of the Year Award.

*Former Lancaster City Manager Robert LaSala, currently a Senior Advisor with ICMA, received the Senior Advisor Award from the Florida City and County Management Association in July 2021.

*HdL Companies Principal Vikki Beatley is an Adjunct Lecturer in the Master of Public Administration program at California State University, Long Beach where she teaches Government Budgeting and Finance.***