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
Registration is now open for the 2023 Annual Conference and Expo of the League of California Cities in Sacramento, September 20-22, 2023, at the SAFE Credit Union Convention Center. The 2023 conference will mark the 125-year milestone anniversary of the annual event. www.calcities.org/ac
Former City Manager Alex D. McIntyre, who has served as the San Bruno interim city manager, will take the place of former City Manager Jovan D. Grogan, who left San Bruno to become the city manager for Santa Clara. After working as a recruiter for Norm Roberts & Associates (1994-1997), Alex served as the town administrator in Portola Valley (1997-2000) and town manager in Tiburon (2000-2006). He was the chief assistant county administrator for Marin County (2006-2008); city manager in Lake Oswego, Oregon (2008-2012); Menlo Park (2012-2018); and the City of Ventura (2018-2022). Alex earned a BA from the University of California, Irvine, and an MPA from the University of Southern California (USC).
Carmen Gil is the new city manager for the City of Gonzales. Carmen has been working as the director of Community Engagement and Strategic Partnerships for Gonzales since 2020. She served as the interim city manager from June 2022 to January 2023. She is a member of the board of the Salinas Valley Health Foundation. Carmen earned a BSW in social work from San Jose State University and an MPA from the University of San Francisco.
Former Milpitas City Manager Steve McHarris filed legal action against the City, claiming grievances and conflict with the city attorney and certain members of the City Council. He claims that he was coerced when it came to his management of the city staff. Assistant City Manager Ashwini Kantak served as acting city manager during Steve’s absence once his employment agreement was not renewed, and he took a leave of absence due to his father’s health issues. Ned Thomas was recently appointed interim city manager. Ned has served as the Milpitas planning director since 2018.
John Keho, West Hollywood’s director of Planning and Development Services, is retiring effective August 1. John served as a planner in Carrollton, Texas (1985-1990) and in Plymouth, Minnesota (1990-1996). He started working in West Hollywood as a planner in January 1997. John rose in the department to become the director in February 2019. He has worked for West Hollywood for 26 and a half years. John earned a BA in Geography from Texas Tech University and an MUP in urban planning from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He is American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) certified.
City Manager Armando Vergara (51) of National City passed away two days after he was appointed to the city manager position. Armando was appointed on Tuesday, June 20, and passed away on Thursday, June 22. The cause of death has not been given. Deputy City Manager Scott Huth is serving as the acting city manager. Armando had been serving as interim city manager since late May when City Manager Brad Raulston left his position. Armando previously worked as the director of Community Development and deputy city manager.
With Antioch City Manager Cornelius “Con” Johnson on administrative leave, Forrest Ebbs has been serving as acting city manager. Forrest worked for the City of Antioch as the community development director for more than eight years before he was appointed to fill in for Con. Forrest recently was hired by the City of Modesto to serve as a deputy city manager. Antioch Economic Development Director Kwame Reed is the new interim city manager. He previously served as a senior analyst in the City of Brentwood (2004-2018) before coming to Antioch as the Economic Development Director in 2018. Kwame earned a BS in city and regional planning from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.
Former Montebello City Manager René Bobadilla is the new city manager for the City of Santa Fe Springs. He was once in the news in 2021 for turning down the city manager position for Santa Monica. René served as a civil engineer for the County of Los Angeles from January 1998 until January 2008. He joined the City of El Monte staff in 2008 as a public works maintenance superintendent. After moving up to community development and deputy city manager, René was appointed interim city manager in October 2009 and El Monte city manager in January 2010. René served as city manager in Huntington Park (2012-2014), and Pico Rivera (2014-2018). He became the Montebello City Manager in July 2019. René earned a BA from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. In 2018 he received a 20-year ICMA Service Award.
Hesperia Assistant City Manager Rachel Molina is the new Hesperia city manager. Rachel joined the Hesperia city staff in February 2007 as a senior office assistant in the City Manager’s Office. She has served as public information officer, deputy city manager and assistant city manager. Rachel earned a BA in organizational leadership from Chapman University and an MPA from California Baptist University. Rachel succeeds City Manager Nils Bentsen, who is retiring.
Whitney McDonald is the new assistant city manager for the City of San Luis Obispo starting August 14. Whitney has been serving as the city manager for the City of Arroyo Grande for nearly three years. She joined the Arroyo Grande staff in 2020 as the community development director. Before she joined the City, Whitney was a senior attorney for Richards Watson and Gershon (RWG). She earned a BA from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a Juris Doctorate from the University of California, Los Angeles-School of Law (UCLA). Whitney is succeeding Assistant City Manager Shelly Stanwyck, who is retiring after 23 years working for the City.
Belmont City Manager Afshin Oskoui revealed that the City’s new assistant city manager is Kathy Kleinbaum. Kathy has been working as the assistant city manager in the City of San Mateo. She joined the San Mateo city staff in October 2013 as a senior management analyst in the City Manager’s Office. She advanced to deputy city manager in October 2016 and became the San Mateo assistant city manager in January 2019. Previous to working in San Mateo, Kathy was a senior project manager for the Oakland Redevelopment Agency (June 2001-November 2011) and the economic development manager for the City of Los Altos (December 2011-October 2013). Kathy earned a BS in Earth systems from Stanford University and a Masters’ in City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley.
Steven Spedowfski is the next city manager for the City of San Ramon. He has worked for the City for more than 20 years and has been working as the interim city manager. Steven joined the San Ramon city staff in 2001 as a transportation specialist. He worked for some time in the Public Works Department. In 2019, Steven became the deputy city manager and worked as the economic development director, public information officer and legislative liaison. Steve succeeds former City Manager Joe Gorton, who retired in January 2023. Steven previously served as an elected member of the Livermore City Council (2014-2018). He earned a BS in criminal justice administration and an MPA from California State University, East Bay.
Former Martinez City Manager Eric Figueroa has taken a position as a local government management consultant. He served as the city manager in Martinez from April 2019 to January 2023. Before his service in Martinez, Eric worked as the assistant city manager in San Ramon (2014-2019). Eric previously was a public affairs manager for the League of California Cities (2006-2014) and the assistant to the city manager in San Leandro (2001-2006). Eric earned a BA in government and economics from Claremont McKenna College and an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business.
Jon France, a former management official with the Sierra Army Depot in Susanville, is the new interim city manager in the City of Baker. Jon is replacing Jonathan Cannon, who has served as the Baker city manager since January 2021. Jon previously worked as an Army civilian senior logistician and project manager. He worked for about 18 years in an Army depot in North Carolina.
Eddie Courtemarche is the new principal at McAuliffe Middle School in Los Alamitos. Eddie is the son of retired City Manager Dennis Courtemarche. Eddie is a very popular high school basketball coach. He also held teaching positions in government, economics and U.S. history. Eddie earned a BA from Claremont McKenna College and a Master’s in education from National University. He is succeeding Dr. Ryan Weiss-Wright, Ed.D. as he moves up in the school district.
- Yulia Carter, the assistant city manager for the City of Pacifica since June 2022, served as the finance director for the City of Half Moon Bay from April 2015 and May 2017.
- Menlo Park Assistant City Manager Stephen Stolte, who was previously the assistant city manager for Daly City (2020-2022), was a field researcher for Amigos de las Aves in Punta Banco, Costa Rica for two months in 2004.
- Retired City Manager Bill Manis and his wife have relocated to the State of Idaho.
- Michele Richards is the chief executive officer of the OC Fair.
- Kyria Martinez is the new county administrative officer for the County of King.
- Folsom City Manager Elaine L. Anderson, who previously worked for the City of Sacramento, became the Folsom city manager in August 2018.
- Gregory D. Korduner, one of the original “Proof of Life” founders, received a 35-year ICMA Service Award in 2010.
- Former Milpitas City Manager Steve McHarris filed legal action against the City claiming a hostile work environment.
- Following the retirement of La Verne City Manager Bob Russi in August 2022, veteran retired City Manager Jesse Duff served as interim city manager in La Verne.
- Bill R. Manis, a former city manager in Rosemead (2016-2017) and Upland in 2018, and president and CEO for the San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership (2019-2021), began his public service working in economic development for the City of Cerritos (1986-2001).
- Grapevine news indicates that retired Indio and Claremont City Manager Glenn Southard is having knee surgery.
- EKA Partner Kellie Hawkins, a CORO Health Leadership Program graduate, served as the chief operating officer for the National Health Foundation (NHF) prior to joining the EKA team.
- Kathi Heimann, San Ramon director of Parks & Community Services, worked as a program manager from the City of San Leandro (1996-2000) and earned a BA in theater from California State University, Fullerton.
- Michael Busch, the chief executive officer of Urban Futures Inc., served as the management services director for the City of Indio (2005-2007) and he was a member of the adjunct faculty for the School of Policy, Planning and Development at the University of Southern California (USC) (2010-2012).
- Greg Sandlund, the planning director for the City of Sacramento, served in the Peace Corps in Suriname as a rural community education volunteer (June 2001-July 2003).
- Anil Comelo worked as the Richmond director of Human Resources before starting as the city manager in the City of St. Helena in July 2022.
- Richmond Deputy City Manager Shasa Curl previously worked as the Community & Economic Development director in Richmond.
- New Belmont Assistant City Manager Kathy Kleinbaum is a self-described “soccer mom” and has enjoyed living in the City of Burlingame.
- Durant, Oklahoma, with a population of 18,589 in Bryan County about three hours southerly of Broken Arrow, is looking for its sixth city manager in the past ten years since the dismissal of City Manager Lisa Taylor.
- Tim Potanovic, a 16-year veteran of the Tehama County Environmental Health directorship, is the new interim city manager for the City of Corning.
- San Mateo Community Development Director Christina Horrisberger is the interim city manager replacing retiring City Manager Drew Corbett in July.