After an ongoing process of several months, the Sebastopol City Council is expected to approve the appointment of Don Schwartz to the position of city manager at its next regular meeting on November 21. Currently the assistant city manager for Rohnert Park, Schwartz will begin his new role in January 2024. He will succeed Sebastopol’s current city manager, Larry McLaughlin, who has served in the position since 2014.
Mr. Schwartz has served as the assistant city manager of Rohnert Park since April of 2014. In that role, he provided leadership to successfully attract new businesses to the City, contributed to balanced budgets each year, helped to establish a positive working environment and increased community engagement. He has also been an adjunct instructor for Sonoma State University’s Master of Public Administration program over the course of the past four years.
Schwartz has almost thirty years’ of experience working in government, community service and nonprofit leadership, including nine years with the County Administrator’s Office for the County of Sonoma. Additionally, his background includes twenty years managing complex budgets emphasizing fiscal responsibility, balanced budgets, healthy reserves, leveraging resources and long-term financial planning, all of which are valued assets as Sebastopol navigates challenging financial times. Schwartz holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley and a Master of Public Policy from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
A North Bay native, Schwartz resides in Santa Rosa with his wife, is an avid hiker and says that the lure of Sonoma County and all it offers drew him back into local community leadership after working outside the area early in his career. The couple are the parents of a daughter who attended school in Sebastopol and has recently graduated from college.
Sebastopol leaders were eager to express their enthusiasm in welcoming Schwartz to his new position. Sebastopol Mayor Neysa stated, “I feel confident that I speak for the entire council when I say that we are excited to announce a new city manager with a track record of deep experience and longevity in his previous positions in government. Don shares values with, and ties to, Sebastopol as his daughter attended school in our City. Additionally, we have someone with his home and community roots in Sonoma County. I feel very excited about what Don will bring to our small City and look forward to the future as he takes the helm starting in 2024.”
Said outgoing City Manager McLaughlin, “Working with Don the past several years through the city managers’ group I’ve been extremely impressed with his organizational skills and level of knowledge. I believe Don will do a great job helping to lead the City as it works through its many challenges and opportunities in the future.”
Of his appointment, Schwartz said, “I am deeply honored. I look forward to bringing a business mindset and passion for public service to this wonderful community and working with a bright City Council committed to the betterment of the city. I’m also looking forward to serving with a great staff and highly engaged and inclusive residents and businesses.”