Sebastopol City Manager Larry McLaughlin today announces his plans to retire from his joint role as City Manager and City Attorney. McLaughlin gave no set date for his retirement, citing his commitment to providing guidance to the City with recent Department Head retirements, completion of a Staffing Assessment Needs for the City and ensuring continuity for the City Council, the majority of which will be new to the Council. He will continue to oversee the operation of the City until a final date has been set.
McLaughlin will return to the private Sebastopol law practice that he founded in 1987. His retirement will cap 35 years of public service to the City of Sebastopol. McLaughlin was appointed City Manager in 2013, after having served as Sebastopol’s City Attorney since 1987 and interim City Manager for several months prior to his appointment.
During his tenure as the City Manager McLaughlin has led the City through some of the most challenging times in the nation’s history: navigating a recession where City reserves were seriously compromised, and providing emergency response to a global pandemic and multiple years of wildfires and floods. McLaughlin has also been at the helm through many successes: Sebastopol becoming a founding City of Sonoma Clean Power; economic growth in the City including the opening of a new commercial district; the adoption of a new General Plan and comprehensive Zoning Ordinance update in 2016; and overseeing the crafting of ordinances on retail sales of tobacco, prohibition of smoking in public places, and a ban on polystyrene products.
Said McLaughlin, “It’s been very fulfilling serving our great little town for the past 35 years. With three new council members coming on board at the end of the year I’m dedicated to working with the group to ensure a smooth transition.” On his future, “I won’t be slowing down much. I plan to be active in the community as well as resume my law practice in Sebastopol. Serving the Sebastopol community, leading the amazing workforce, and overseeing what has been accomplished with such limited staff has been an honor and privilege. I hope that I have left a positive legacy at the City.”
Mayor Patrick Slayter, who has worked with McLaughlin since being elected to the City Council in 2010 said, “The job of City Manager is one of the most complex positions that exists in government. The job involves managing many aligned and competing interests, a diverse staff, budgetary constraints, intergovernmental relationships, and a rotating assortment of Councilmembers, each with a singular version of what is most important.
I know the entire City Council values Larry’s leadership, and we approach this announcement with equal parts sadness for the loss of his incredible knowledge, skill and temperament, and joy for the opportunity of continuing his private law practice and spending more time with his family. We have all profoundly enjoyed working with Larry.
On a personal note, I will miss working with Larry. He is an outstanding City Manager, and I am thrilled and happy for Larry as he begins the next chapter of life. I am grateful for his abilities as a manager, appreciative of his practical nature, and deeply contented that I am able to call him a friend.”