The Santa Cruz City Council today announced its unanimous recommendation of Matt Huffaker as the City’s next City Manager. The appointment will come before the City Council at its Nov. 9 meeting. The final details of his employment agreement will be released in advance of that meeting.
Serving as the City Manager for Watsonville since 2018, Huffaker is a seasoned public servant who brings nearly two decades of experience in government, including 15 years in leadership positions in local government. He has served the City of Watsonville for more than five years, first as Assistant City Manager beginning in 2016. Prior to Watsonville, Huffaker held leadership positions with the City of Walnut Creek.
“We have many important initiatives underway in the City of Santa Cruz, and Matt has a unique set of qualifications to make a positive impact for our community quickly. Not only will he bring a wealth of operational experience to the role, but he will also arrive with deep relationships across the region already in place. The Council was particularly impressed with his breadth of creative ideas that stem from his experience, vision, and leadership values. We are incredibly excited about him as the recommended hire for our next City Manager,” said Mayor Donna Meyers.
During his tenure in Watsonville, Huffaker achieved fiscal sustainability, including doubling the City’s General Fund reserves while expanding Parks, Arts and Recreation services programs. Additionally, he led an inclusive public outreach and education effort that resulted in an 80 percent voter-approved special revenue measure, which provides critical funding for Fire, Police and Parks and Recreation in perpetuity. Huffaker also worked to foster a dynamic and connected workplace culture by spearheading the City’s first Employee Engagement Action Plan to build a more connected, empowered, and valued organizational culture.
“I’m very humbled and excited to have the opportunity to serve as Santa Cruz’s next City Manager. Santa Cruz has tremendous opportunities before it, and I look forward to working with the Council, community and City staff to advance the many important initiatives underway. I think my local experience and established regional partnerships will allow me to hit the ground running. I’m ready to get to work,” said Huffaker.
Pending a vote by the Council on Nov. 9, Huffaker will assume the role of City Manager effective Jan. 3, 2022.