Trackdown ManagementTrackdown Management’s City Manager newsletter: Volume No. 14: Issue No. 20

Redondo Beach Assistant City Manager Mike Witzansky is set to succeed his boss City Manager Joe Hoefgen. Joe is retiring and Mike is scheduled to start as City Manager November 16. Joe has served as the Redondo Beach City Manager since 2014. Mike has served as the Assistant City Manager for 7-years. Prior to becoming Assistant City Manager Mike served as the Public Works Director and before that the Community Services Director. He also spent 6-years with the City Manager’s Office in Torrance.

Foster City has retained executive recruitment firm Ralph Andersen and Associates to spearhead the city’s recruitment for a new City Manager following the dismissal of City Manager Peter Pirnejad. Kevin Miller is serving as Interim City Manager until the conclusion of the recruitment.

Fred Wilson, a retired City Manager, presented the Ralph Anderson and Associates proposal. In 2017 Fred received a 35-year ICMA Service Award. Fred served as City Manager in Huntington Beach (2008-2019) and San Bernardino (1997-2008).

Watsonville City Manager Matt Huffaker was selected to serve as the next City Manager in the City of Santa Cruz. Matt began his public service career as an intern for State Senator Tom Torlakson in June 2004. Next, he worked as an Intern with the County of San Diego Board of Supervisors (March 2004-June 2006). Matt went to work for the City of Walnut Creek in June 2006 as a Business Manager. He was elevated to Assistant to the City Manager (January 2012-July 2015) and then Deputy City Manager in July 2015. After a little more than 10-years Matt left Walnut Creek to become the Assistant City Manager in Watsonville, and he was appointed City Manager in July 2018. Matt earned a BA from Point Loma Nazarene University and an MPA from California State University, East Bay. In 2013 Matt completed the Berkeley Executive Seminar for public policy and leadership at the University of California, Berkeley.

Clovis City Manager Luke Serpa is retiring in December and Assistant City Manager John Holt will take the position effective January 1, 2022. John has worked for the City of Clovis for 21-years. He worked for a time as City Clerk, and a Management Analyst. Prior to joining the Clovis city staff John was the Financial Services Manager for the City of Visalia for 5-years. He retired as a Captain in the United States Navy. John has lived in Clovis for 30-years.

Michael Blay, 56, a resident of Claremont, is the 10th Upland City Manager in the past 10-years. Mike served as the Assistant City Manager and Director of Development Services in the City of Hesperia (2016-March 2021). Mike takes the helm from Acting City Manager Stephen Parker. Steve will resume his duties as Assistant City Manager and Finance Director. Mike worked for about 20-years with the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department, including the time of the SWAT team.

Artesia City Manager William “Bill” Rawlings submitted his resignation. Bill was hired as the Artesia City Manager in November 2013. He served as the Interim City Manager starting in May 2013. He took over from retired longtime City Manager Maria Dadian. Bill had a long tenure with the County of Orange (1986-2006) before he was hired as the Deputy City Manager and Redevelopment Director in the City of Vista (2007-2011) where he worked with City Manager Rita Geldert. He was appointed City Manager in the City of Menifee, replacing City Manager George Wentz, starting in 2011. Bill received a 30-year ICMA Service Award in 2018. He earned a BA in business administration at California State University, Fullerton and a Doctorate in Law from Western State University College of Law. Artesia Administrative Services Manager Melissa Burke will serve as Acting City Manager until future action is taken.

When Piedmont City Administrator Sara Lillevand took a leave of absence to attend to family matters in June 2021, former City Administrator Paul Benoit served as the backup. Paul already had a service agreement with the city for project management on the new municipal pool, so adjustments were made to it to accommodate city administration services. Sara became the City Administrator in Piedmont on July 15, 2019

. With City Manager Bruce Pope retiring as Mount Shasta City Manager in July 2021, Mount Shasta Finance Director Muriel Howarth Terrell served as the Interim City Manager until new City Manager Todd Juhasz came to work. An attorney, Before being hired in Mt. Shasta in October 2016, Bruce served as the City Manager for the City of Isleton from February 2007 to October 2011. Bruce earned a BS in urban studies from Portland State University.

Conal McNamara served as the Whittier Director of Community Development prior to his appointment to serve as City Manager in the City of La Palma in April 2020. Conal joined the Whittier city staff in 2014. Conal worked as a Policy Deputy to Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich (March 2000 – March 2003). He then worked for the County Department of Public Works for a little more than 5-years before being hired by the City of Azusa as the Assistant Director of Economic & Community Development. Conal earned two BA’s from the University of California, Irvine; one in social ecology and one in political science. He also earned an MPA from California State University, Northridge.

Dunsmuir City Manager Todd Juhasz is moving on to work as the City Manager in Mount Shasta. Jefferson Spencer is serving as the Interim City Manager in Dunsmuir while the city recruits for a City Manager. Todd served in the United State Air Force (1984-1991) before becoming a Management Intern in the U.S. Evironmental Protection Agency in 1998. After working positions in the New York City area, Todd took a Development Manager position with the Portland Development Commission in December 2007. He was a Senior Major Capital Projects Planner for the Oregon Department of Transportation (2010- 2013). Todd worked as a Transportation Division Manager for the City of Beaverton, Oregon (2013- 2019), and after working as a consulting in 2019, he was hired as Dunsmuir City Manager in August, 2019.

Former Willdan Project Manager (2005-2009) Jeff Kay worked for the City of San Leandro for nearly 12-years starting in May 2009 as a Business Development Analyst. Jeff became Assistant City Manager in October 2016 and In January 2018 he was appointed City Manager in San Leandro. He left San Leandro in December 2020, and started as the Healdsburg City Manager in January 2021. Jeff earned a BA from Vassar College and an MA from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Steven McClary grew up in Woodland Hills, and used to visit the Malibu beaches in the 1970s and 1980s. Steve is the new Malibu Interim City Manager; his first city position in Los Angeles County. He previously worked in city governments in Ventura County, including Ojai, Camarillo and Fillmore. Steve began his Interim City Manager role in May, taking over from former City Manager Reva Feldman. Steve worked as a newspaper reporter in Fillmore before he took a position in City Hall as Administrative Services Director and Deputy City Clerk (1997-2009). He went to work in Ojai in 2009 as Assistant to the City Manager (2009- 2013); Deputy City Manager (2013-2016); and he became Interim City Manager in 2016. He served as the Ojai City Manager from 2016 to 2019. He worked as the Interim City Manager in Camarillo in 2020. Steve earned a BA in communications from Pacific Lutheran University.

Yucaipa is reorganizing its Department of Finance following the departure of two senior staff members months after an employee was arrested for stealing from the City in 2019. City Manager Ray Casey is creating two new accountant positions and narrowing the scope of responsibility of the Director of Finance. The restructuring removed Administrative Services from the Finance Department. Former Office Assisstant Martha Amarilys Avalos was arrested in November 2019 on felony charges of grand theft, She pleaded “not guilty” and a preliminary hearing is set fo November 18. For the past year and a half the City has contracted with MV Cheng & Associates to temporarily conduct Finance Department business.


Retired Westminster City Manager Eddie Manfro is serving as the Interim Human Resources Director in the City of Fullerton.

*Chula Vista resident Leon P. Firsht, the Director of Public Works in La Mesa, is the new Public Services & Engineering Director in the City of Coronado.

*Former Piper Jaffray associate (2004-2012) Melanie Arner Corona with Mark Curran, who took good care of the CCMF City Managers Department special dinners, is currently the Public Information Officer at the Gilroy Unified School District.

*Bret Plumlee of HdL Companies, where he is a Principal Consultant, is a former City Manager in Los Alamitos and La Puente, celebrated a birthday on Saturday, October 30.

*Artesia Administrative Analyst Andrew Perry is the President of the AFSCME Local 1520 representing the city’s rank-and-file employees.

*Jessie Flores is the City Manager in the City of Adelanto.

*Retired Rosemead City Manager (1974-2002) Frank G. Tripepi served as the Interim City Manager in the City of La Puente from October 2008 to December 2009.

*Tammy Alcantor has served as the City Manager in the City of Escalon since February 2004; nearly 18-years.

*Retired Fullerton City Manager Chris Meyer (2001-2010), a “Proof of Life” veteran, who served as the Assistant to the City Manager in Fullerton starting in March 1983, earned a BA from California State University, San Diego and an MPA from California State University, Fullerton.

*Brian Mohan, Moreno Valley Assistant City Manager and Chief Financial Officer, began his working career with La-Z-Boy in July 1997 before he joined the Rialto city staff Finance Department in September 2000. *