Trackdown ManagementTrackdown Management’s City Manager Newsletter: Volume No. 15: Issue No. 22

For 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.

Picking Up the Pieces

Laguna Beach Assistant City Manager Ken Domer has been selected to serve as the next city manager for the City of La Verne. Ken began his public service career in January 1991 with the California Environmental Protection Agency with Governor Pet Wilson’s office. In September 1996 he started a nearly 9-year tenure with the County of Orange in various positions. In May 2005 he became the city manager in Villa Park where he worked until December 2008 when he became the assistant city administrator in Placentia. In October 2013 he became the assistant city manager in Huntington Beach. Ken was selected to be the city manager in Fullerton beginning in July 2017. He left there in April and became the assistant city manager in Laguna Beach in June 2021. After graduating from Villa Park High School, Ken earned a BA and MPA from the University of Southern California (USC).

Interim Assistant City Manager Kiely Nosé will take the position without the “Interim” on Palo Alto City Manager Ed Shikada’s staff this month. Kiely has served as the city’s chief financial officer for the past 4-years. She became the interim assistant city manager when Monique LeConge Ziesenhenne retired. Prior to joining the Palo Alto city staff Kiely worked for the City of San Jose. She earned a BS from Santa Clara University.

Laguna Beach Director of Administrative Services Gavin Curran is the next assistant city manager and chief finance officer as Ken Domer leaves the city to become the city manager in La Verne. Gavin became the Laguna Beach finance officer in 2004. In 2017 he became the director of administrative services. Before coming to Laguna Beach, Gavin served as the assistant director of finance in the City of El Segundo. Gavin earned a BDA and a BS in accounting and finance from Loyola Marymount University.

Yountville Town Manager Steven Rogers announced his retirement in early 2023. He served 15 years as Yountville town manager. Steve became town manager in October 2007 after working as the general manager and CEO for the North Tahoe Public Utility District. Before that, he was assistant city manager in the City of San Bruno (1996-2004). Go Blue! Steve earned a BA from the University of Michigan and an MPA from The University of Kansas.

Since May of this year, the City of Alameda has been without a city manager following City Manager Eric Leavitt’s resignation to become the Fullerton city manager. Effective December 6 Jennifer Ott will be the new Alameda city manager. Jennifer has served as the Hayward assistant city manager and development services director since 2018. She previously worked for Alameda between 2005 and 2018 in various executive positions. Jennifer earned a BA from the University of California, Davis and an MPP degree from the University of California, Berkeley. She is fluent in English and Spanish.

Congratulations to Jeffrey Prang, former mayor of West Hollywood (2000-2001; 2003-2004; 2008- 2009; and 2012-2013) and assistant city manager in Pico Rivera (February 2008-June 2011), for his reelection to the office of Los Angeles County Assessor. He served on the West Hollywood City Council between 1997 and 2014. Jeff has served as the county assessor since 2014. Jeff was born in Detroit, Michigan and earned a BA from Michigan State University. Trackdown congratulations to Jeff and best wishes for continued success.

Ben Harvey began his public service career in the City of Bellflower in September 1992. In Bellflower, Ben worked with an executive team that included Linda Lowry, and Mike Egan, before taking a management analyst post in Newport Beach (1997-1999). After a walk on the private side, including time as a region manager for local public affairs for the Southern California Edison Company (2006-2013), Ben served as the Avalon City Manager from September 2013 until November 2015. Ben became the Pacific Grove interim city manager in January 2016 and he was elevated to city manager in April 2016. Ben earned a BA from the University of California, Davis and an MPA from California State University, Long Beach. Linda Lowry went on to retire as the Pomona city manager in December 2019 after 14 years in the City of Pomona, and previously served as city manager in Diamond Bar and Bellflower. After serving as Bellflower city manager, Mike retired as the Norwalk city manager in 2017. Mike recently worked as the interim city manager in the City of Artesia while a city manager recruitment was completed.

Westlake Village Deputy City Manager Philippe Eskandar began his public service career as a recreation leader in the City of Newport Beach (2007-2011) and as a recreation leader trainee in Burbank (2005-2013). He joined the Glendale city staff in June 2010 as a program specialist and rose to administrative officer. Philippe became an administrative analyst in Westlake Village in 2017. After serving in progressively responsible positions, he was named deputy city manager in July 2019. Philippe earned a BA from the University of California, Irvine and a Master of dispute resolution and a Master of public policy from Pepperdine University.

Longtime Cerritos City Manager Arthur Gallucci has worked for the City of Cerritos for 51 years. He has been City Manager for 31 years, since 1991. Art announced his intent to retire effective June 30, 2023. He will be most difficult to replace. Art joined Cerritos in 1971 as a recreation superintendent and was later promoted to assistant director of human affairs before he became the assistant city manager. He was appointed “Interim” in March 1991 after the end of City Manager Gaylord Knapp’s tenure, and Art became the Cerritos city manager in April 1991. Trackdown best wishes to Art for a long, healthy and enjoyable retirement


Jennifer A. Lilley is the new director of community and economic development for the City of Riverside.

Leslie Arroyo is the new deputy city manager in South San Francisco.

Newport Beach City Manager Grace Leung appointed Deputy Chief Joe Cartwright as the acting chief of police following the retirement of Chief of Police Jon Lewis effective December 31.

Retired Irvine City Manager John Russo was spotted having lunch with Sam Olivito, the retired California Contract Cities Association executive director, at J’s Deli in Palm Desert.

Former El Segundo (2019-2022) and Thousand Oaks (2005-2016) City Manager Scott Mitnick is now a senior vice president with Kosmont Financial Services (KFS) working with Dan Massiello and Julio Morales.

The first Joint Powers Authority (JPA) in California was created in 1921 by the City of San Francisco and Alameda County to build a sanitarium for tuberculosis patients.

Carolyn Steffan is the city clerk and city administrator in the City of Tehama and is the retired superintendent of the Los Molinos Unified School District.

Sacramento City Manager Howard Chan received a raise in pay from $372,700 to $400,652 annually; an increase of 7.5%.

Adriana Nava, who earned a BA from the University of California, Berkeley and an MPA from San Diego State University, joined the El Centro city staff in January 2014 as an associate planner and she was appointed community services director in 2018.