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
Word has it that veteran City of Bellflower City Manager Jeff Stewart is planning to retire this year. Jeff, who has also served as city manager in Los Alamitos, and El Segundo came to Bellflower in 2011 following City Manager Mike Egan’s resignation to accept the Norwalk city manager position. Jeff began his career in West Covina and worked for Rosemead, El Segundo, and Los Alamitos before joining the Bellflower City staff. Jeff worked with the late City Manager Frank G. Tripepi in Rosemead. He served as city manager in El Segundo and Los Alamitos. Meghan Wishner of the City staff in Fountain Valley provided information on the October 4, 2023 grand opening of Fountain Valley Universally Accessible Playground (UAP) and recreation area. The UAP is a sensory-rich recreational environment that enables children and adults of all abilities to develop physically, socially, and emotionally. The project was completed by the collaboration of the City of Fountain Valley and the Fountain Valley Foundation.
San Bernardino continues to search for their next city manager. City Manager Rob Field, the City’s 6th city manager in 8 years, left some 10 months ago and the City appointed former City Manager Charles McNeely to serve as the interim city manager. The City received 70 applications during their initial recruitment, but the candidate they selected decided to remain with his current employer. It was reported that Salinas City Manager Steve Carrigan was selected, but for personal and professional reasons withdrew from the San Bernardino recruitment as he wished to stay on as the Salinas city manager. On October 3, the Salinas City Council unanimously voted to fire Steve. Jim Pia is the Salinas interim city manager.
Brant Mesker is the new city manager for the City of Corning. Brant replaces City Manager Kristina Miller, who resigned in June. Tom Potonovic has served as the interim city manager. Brant previously worked as a management analyst in the office of the Glenn County Administrative Officer (May 2022-2023). He previously worked for the County of Tehama (November 2013-May 2022). He has served as a member of the City of Corning Planning Commission. Brant earned a BBA from California State University, Chico.
Long Beach Assistant City Manager Linda F. Tatum, who was appointed by City Manager Tom Modica in June 2020, will retire in November after working with the city since 2015. Linda was previously the director of development services for the City of Long Beach. Linda has served in land use planning for most of her career. She worked for the cities of Inglewood, Culver City and Santa Ana before joining the Long Beach City staff.
Jorge E. Garcia is the new city manager in the City of Pismo Beach. Jorge has served as the interim city manager since May 2023 following the resignation of City Manager Jim Lewis, who left to become the Atascadero city manager. In 2008, Jorge was hired to serve as a management analyst in Villa Park. In May 2011 he took a similar position with the City of Fountain Valley and in February 2014 he joined the City staff in Santa Ana, the county seat of Orange County, as a senior management assistant. He was promoted to assistant to the city manager in July 2017. Jorge moved to the Central Coast in December 2018 as the management services director for the City of Pismo Beach. He became the assistant city manager in June 2021. Jorge earned a BA from Chapman University and an MPA from California State University, Fullerton. In 2014- 2015, Jorge served as the president for the Municipal Management Association of Southern California (MMASC).
Effective October 23, Sarah Johnson-Rios is the new assistant city manager for the City of Sunnyvale. Sarah has served as the assistant city manager and administrative services director for the City of Morro Bay since June 2021. She worked as assistant city manager in Paso Robles from July 2019, and previously worked as the community development administrator in the City of Raleigh, North Carolina (2018-2019). Sarah was the administrative services officer in Santa Monica for a little more than 8 years (2010-2018) and before that she was a project coordinator for the City of Chula Vista (2006- 2008). Sarah earned a BA from Emory University, and a Master’s degree in public and international affairs from Princeton University.
Pinole City Manager Andrew Murray retired and left his City position at the end of September 2023. Andrew became the City of Pinole City Manager in January 2020. After working as a principal economist for the University of California, Office of the President (2001-2004), Andrew joined the City and County of San Francisco staff as chief legislative analyst (2004-2007) and then as city performance deputy director (2007- 2012). Andrew became the assistant to the city administrator in the City of Oakland in June 2012, and he began his tenure as the assistant city manager in Pleasant Hill in September 2013. After nearly 6 and a half years in Pleasant Hill, he was appointed city manager in Pinole. Andrew earned a BS, MS and an MBA from the University of California, Davis.
Retired California and Georgia City Manager Ross G. Hubbard since November 2006 has served as a consulting city manager or administrator. He is available to assist cities and counties during executive transition by providing interim services. Ross served as assistant to the city manager in Banning (1971-1973) and as an administrative assistant in Riverside (1973-1974). In January 1975, Ross became the assistant to the city manager in Rialto before he started as city manager for the City of Livingston (October 1975-December 1979). He began his tenure as the Atherton city manager in December 1979. He left Atherton in March 1989 and started as town manager for the Town of Moraga in April 1989. Ross earned a BA from California State University and an MPA from the University of San Francisco. He served as the interim city manager for the City of Social Circle, Georgia in 2015.
- Former Sonoma (2008-2012) city manager and town manager in Fairfax (2006-2008) and Windsor (2012-2017), Linda K. Kelly is working as a consultant in the State of Washington.
- Charles G. “Guy” Huffaker, who served as city manager in Colton and for a longtime in Porterville starting in March 1977, earned a BA from San Diego State University, is a past member of the Board of the California City Management Foundation (CCMF).
- Gary K. Sloan started his public service career in 1972 in Pico Rivera (1972-1977) and served in positions in Lawndale (1977-1979), and Cerritos (1979-1980) before he joined the La Mirada City staff where he became city manager in February 1981.
- Chicago Bears, Hall of Fame and legendary linebacker, Dick Butkus passed away at the age of 80 at his Malibu, California home.
- Mary Jane Lazz, born in April 1948, formerly with the City of Thousand Oaks, earned a BS from Washington State University and an MPA from the University of La Verne.
- Kern County Water Agency’s Kristina Budak has returned to the City of Bakersfield as the manager of the Water Resources Department where she replaces the retired Art Chianello.
- El Cerrito, where Karen Pinkos serves as city manager, has become the latest California City joining Walnut Creek, South San Francisco, Sacramento and Monterey, to have public meetings hijacked by hate speech.
- San Francisco Mayor London Breed is supporting efforts to require individuals with substance abuse disorders who want to access county-funded cash assistance to enroll in treatment and services.