The City Council was recently informed by its city manager, Mark Alexander, of his intent to retire next spring. Alexander, the City’s sixth appointed city manager, first came to the City in October 1988. He was initially appointed as an administrative assistant and was later promoted to assistant to the city manager, assistant city manager and deputy city attorney. He was named city manager in June 2003. Upon his retirement, Alexander will have held the position 20 years, becoming the longest-serving city manager and longest-tenured employee (at what will be 35 years) of the City’s 47-year history. He also holds the distinction of being the longest-tenured city manager in the San Gabriel Valley.
Having started his municipal engagement as a commission appointee to the City of San Dimas’ Juvenile Justice Commission upon entering his high school years, Alexander’s retirement will complete a 44-year career in local government. He was offered his first internship with the City of San Dimas when he commenced his undergraduate college education. Later, he went on to serve in various administrative positions with the cities of Glendora and Simi Valley before landing in La Cañada Flintridge.
Some of the projects and new programs that transpired or were spearheaded during Alexander’s tenure in LCF include:
- The Lanterman House was restored and opened to the public as a historical museum;
- Street and parkway medians and landscaping were installed along Foothill Blvd.;
- The removal and undergrounding of electrical lines and utility power poles along Foothill Blvd. added to the beautification of Foothill Boulevard;
- The City’s first local fixed-route transportation service (LCF Shuttle) was launched;
- The City’s first citywide curbside recycling program was initiated;
- The City’s skate park was opened;
- The Joint Use Agreement between City and School District was formed;
- The Cherry Canyon open space acquisition was completed;
- Rockridge Terrace was acquired and preserved as a permanent open space retreat;
- The Memorial Park gazebo was constructed;
- The annual summer Music-in-the-Park concert series was launched;
- Three major sanitary sewer projects were completed and special assessment districts were successfully formed to fund their construction;
- The Downtown Village Specific Plan was crafted and adopted;
- The Town Center Development was approved and completed;
- The City’s first disaster preparedness volunteer program (“VERT”) was launched;
- The Verdugo Park & Ride facility was created and continues to be maintained through a public/private partnership agreement;
- Surplus Caltrans property was acquired and subsequently constructed into Mayors’ Discovery Park;
- The City enjoyed 34 consecutive years of surplus revenues over expenditures and a general fund reserve that surpassed $18.1 million (or 120% of its operating budget);
- The City’s first Government Finance Officers Association’s Excellence in Financial Reporting award was received and continued each subsequent year thereafter;
- The proposed 710 Freeway extension project was defeated;
- The City responded to the Station Fire, Los Angeles County’s largest wildland fire up to that point, and the subsequent mudslides that caused significant community damage;
- Online portals for doing business with City Hall, the creation of a City website and the broadcasting of City meetings was implemented;
- The former Sport Chalet headquarters building was acquired and transformed into a modern and functional City Hall; and
- The City responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by providing information and opportunities to assist residents and businesses.
As an active member of the city management profession, Alexander has served on numerous boards and committees and has held several leadership positions. He currently serves on the Los Angeles County Claims Board and Liability Trust Fund Oversight Committee, the Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications System (LA-RICS) Authority Board of Directors, the USC Executive Education Board of Directors and the USC Price City/County Management Fellowship (CCMF) Advisory Committee. He is a past chair of the San Gabriel Valley City Managers Association and the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments City Manager’s Steering Committee.
He is a two-time recipient of the California Contract Cities Association’s “El Gran Matador” award, two-time recipient of the Municipal Management Association of Southern California’s “President’s Award” and 2015 recipient of the CCMF Advisory Committee’s “Future of City/County Management” award.
“Mark has served an integral role in helping guide our community through many complex issues over the past three decades,” said Mayor Keith Eich. “He is a highly respected municipal leader and will leave a lasting legacy. He has built an excellent team at City Hall that will ensure that, even after his departure, there will be no disruption to the high quality of municipal services offered to our community. We wish Mark the very best in his well-earned retirement.”
The LCF City Council will soon begin the process of seeking the services of a professional recruitment firm to help fill the role of the City’s next city manager. Alexander’s official last day at City Hall will be May 4, 2023.