Trackdown ManagementTrackdown Management’s City Manager Newsletter: Volume No. 16: Issue No. 5

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

Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao fired Oakland Chief of Police LeRonne Armstrong. The Chief is a 20 year Oakland police department veteran. He has served as chief of police since 2021. The mayor is reported to be troubled by the Chief’s downplaying the actions by a police sergeant related to a local scandal. The mayor terminated the chief without cause and is not required to provide a justification.

Tehachapi City Manager Greg Garrett will receive the Kern County Council of Governments’ Darrel Hildebrand Distinguished Leadership Award on March 2. The award is named for a former assistant director of the Kern COG. Darrel passed away in 2009. This year the award goes to Greg and to Ryan Alsop, chief administrative officer for the County of Kern. Alameda

City Manager Jennifer Ott announced the appointment of Amy Wooldridge to assistant city manager. Amy has been serving as the Alameda acting assistant city manager and Recreation and Parks director. She has been the Recreation and Parks director since May 2012. Amy previously worked for the City of Pinole in parks and recreation starting in 2004. She earned a BS in psychology from the University of California, Davis.

Laguna Beach police investigated the vandalism at the home of Laguna Beach City Manager Shohreh Dupuis. Sewage of feces was smeared on the house, front yard, mailbox, planters, outside stairs and a walkway. Shohreh was appointed city manager in April 2021. She replaced former City Manager John Pietig, who retired. Shohreh previously served as the Laguna Beach assistant city manager and previous to that, she was the director of public works.

After working in the Arizona cities of Page and Kearny, Lawrence L. Lehman became the city manager in the City of Seaside in December 1982. He served as the Kearny city manager from 1977 to 1982. After leaving Seaside in in February 1993, Larry became the city manager in Pendleton, Oregon where he served for nearly 19 years (1993-2012). Larry earned a BS from Central Michigan University and an MPA from the University of Arizona.

Desert Hot Springs City Manager Luke Rainey has resigned from his position. Luke worked for the city for more than 15 years and he served as city manager since 2021. Deputy City Manager Doria Wilms was appointed interim city manager. Doria is a lifelong resident of Desert Hot Springs. She joined the city staff in 2015 as a deputy city clerk and became deputy city manager in 2021.

Morro Bay City Manager Scott Collins is leaving his position in March for a new position with the Housing Authority of San Luis Obispo. Greg Carpenter will serve as the interim city manager while the city recruits a replacemnet. Greg worked as the planning manager in Lawndale (2001-2002) before he became a zoning administrator in Long Beach (2002-2004). In 2004 he was promoted to planning bureau manager. He left Long Beach in 2008 to become the director of Planning and Building & Safety for the City of El Segundo. He was selected to serve as the El Segundo city manager in 2012, where he worked for more than 11 years. He was the interim city manager in Paso Robles for a time. He starts in Morro Bay on March 13.

Ken Hiatt served as the Community Development director in the City of Davis (2010-2013). In May 2013 he was hired to serve as the Community Development director for the City of Woodland. Ken was appointed assistant city manager in September 2016, while he continued with his community development duties. Ken became Woodland city manager in August 2020. He earned a BA in landscape architecture and environmental policy and planning from the University of California, Davis.

Retired City of Paramount City Manager Linda Benedetti-Leal, who celebrated a birthday last month, is a new Italian citizen. In December, Linda and her son Ben’s applications for Italian citizenship were granted. She explains that her Italian grandparents came to this country in the early 1900s, leaving poor living circumstances but also their home. Linda says that they worked hard and made a new life for themselves and their family. Linda says, with pride that she owes all that she is to them. She is inspired by their courage, pioneering spirit and faith. She is proud that she and her son have reclaimed a part of their family’s heritage and that they are now proud Italian citizens. Linda was a longtime Paramount city manager, following Pat West into the position when he left for Long Beach.

Former San Bruno City Manager Jovan D. Grogan is the new city manager in the City of Santa Clara. The appointment comes one year after the firing of former City Manager Deanna Santana. Jovan’s employment agreement calls for a salary of $405,506 annually. He started his city manager tenure in San Bruno in July 2018. He previously worked as the deputy city manager in Berkeley for nearly 2-years (2016-2018). Jovan worked as the budget officer in Concord starting in January 2013 and became deputy city manager in January 2015. He earned a BA and MA in city and regional planning from Cornell University.

Scott Wasserman, son of the late retired City Manager Lauren Wasserman, is the director of Parks and Recreation for the City of San Dimas. Scott served as a Peace Corps volunteer in 1998-2000. He then worked as a community services manager and public safety manager for the City of Pico Rivera (2000-2006). Scott served as the human services administrator in Santa Monica (2006-2008) before joining the Commerce city staff in February 2008 as assistant director of Parks and Recreation. In November 2012, Scott was promoted to director of Parks and Recreation. Scott moved to the City of Lake Forest in March 2015 as community services director. He began his tenure as the San Dimas director of Parks and Recreation in June 2021. Scott earned a BA in social work and a BA in Spanish language and literature from California State University, Long Beach. He also earned an MSS in social work from Case Western Reserve University.


Self-employed consultant Maria Hurtado is a former assistant city manager in the cities of Tracy (2014-2015), Oxnard (2015-2016) and Hayward (2016- 2020).

George N. Harris II, a former deputy city manager in Victorville, is the director of finance for the City of Lancaster since June 2020 and he serves as the treasurer for the California Class JPA.

Retired City Manager Keith Till, who worked in the City of Santee for more than 22 years and also worked in Seal Beach and San Marino, and describes himself as a “hacker,” recently sank a hole in one on a 139 yards hole at Rancho Carlsbad golf course.

Former Dairy Valley (Cerritos) Assistant City Manager Stanley Morgan, who is a past mayor and council member in Anderson, is currently living in Vacaville.

Fairfield Information Technology Director Savita Chaudhary worked with Vacaville (2009-2015) and Berkeley (2015- 2021) before landing in her current position.

Pleasanton City Manager Gerry Beaudin was the city’s community development director when he was appointed city manager in May 2022.

Lompoc City Manager Dean Albro, since January 2022 following City Manager Jim Throop’s resignation, joined the Lompoc city staff in 2012 as an accounting supervisor.

Congratulations to John H. Nail Memorial Award recipient Lisa Kim, assistant city manager for Garden Grove.

Woodlake City Administrator since May 2012 Ramon Lara is an alumnus of the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Santa Maria City Manager Jason Stilwell since December 2017 was the city administrator for the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea (September 2011-October 2014).

Jennette D. Farris joined the city staff in the City of Vista in March as an administrative assistant in March 1979 and became deputy city manager in August 1987.

Joe Goeden retired as the West Sacramento city manager in June 2002, and he continues to serve as a member of the Board of Directors for the West Sacramento Foundation (1998-present).

Del M. Cesar worked for the City of Duarte, starting in 1958 as superintendent of Parks and Recreation (1958-1961) and then as assistant city administrator (1961-1968), before serving as city manager for The Dalles, Oregon (1968-1988).

Jason AlImam was hired as the new city finance director in Newport Beach in November 2022 replacing former Finance Director Scott Catlett, who left for a private sector position.

Yountville Town Manager Steve Rogers is the 2023 recipient of the Wes McClure Award of Distinction.

Novato Assistant City Manager Jessica Deakyne worked for the Orange County Transportation Authority for a little more than seven years from 2006 to 2013.

John Jamison, former city manager in Signal Hill and Bellflower, was an amazing golfer.