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
California City’s Interim City Manager Michele Martinez resigned only ten weeks into the job. Michele cited concern for her safety as a reason she left. She is California City’s seventh city manager within the past two years. City Attorney Victor Ponto has taken the city manager duties until a deputy city manager is hired and a replacement for the city manager is found.
Sedona, Arizona City Manager Karen Osburn is looking to fill up to 10 new city staff positions during the next two fiscal years. The City recently authorized a midyear salary increase for current staff. Director of Public Works Kurt Harris is looking to add at least five new employees. Karen has served as Sedona city manager since March 2021. She previously worked as assistant city manager from March 2012. Karen earned a BASc from Binghamton University and an MPA from Arizona State University.
City of Inglewood, home of SoFi Stadium, City Manager Artie Fields retired at the end of 2023. Artie served as the Inglewood city manager for a dozen years starting in 2011. He began his career in 1986 as an intern with the City of Beverly Hills. He went on the serve in various position with the cities of Manhattan Beach, Pasadena, Pomona, San Leandro and West Covina. He was appointed city manager in Salinas in 2008 before he joined the Inglewood executive team as city manager. Artie earned a BA and MPA from the University of Southern California (USC). In 2016 he received a 30-Year ICMA Service Award. Artie is the 2002 recipient of the John H. Nail Memorial Award. Mark Weinberg has been appointed to serve as the Inglewood interim city manager.
Sandra Spelliscy, former city manager at Talent, Oregon, was hired last June as the interim city manager for the City of Sutter Creek replacing City Manager Amy Gedney. Tom DuBois was named city manager in Sutter Creek starting in November 2023, replacing Sandra. Tom held positions in the private sector and is a former mayor and city council member in the City of Palo Alto (2015-2023). Tom earned a BS in mathematics from Carnegie Mellon University and an MBA from Georgetown University. New Calabasas Assistant City Manager Scott Trujillo previously worked in Indio as deputy city manager. Scott will begin work in Calabasas on January 22 as support staff to City Manager Kindon Meik. He rose in the Indio city organization from a human services supervisor in June 2006 to deputy city manager in February 2019. He worked in five different Indio positions along the way. Scott earned a BS in psychology from Colorado State University and an MPA from Grand Canyon University. Scott serves on the ICMA Committee for Assistant Chief Administrative Officers.
At the Bellflower City Council meeting of November 13, 2023, action was taken to appoint Lomita City Manager Ryan Smoot to succeed Bellflower City Manager Jeffrey “Jeff” L. Stewart, who has retired. Jeff is a former city manager in Los Alamitos and El Segundo. Jeff has served as the Bellflower city manager for the past 12 years, starting in January 2012. He previously worked with the cities of Rosemead and West Covina. Ryan began his Lomita tenure as city manager in 2016. He previously worked in the city manager’s office for the City of Bellflower.
Willie Hopkins Jr. is the new Compton city manager starting January 8. Willie is a U.S. Army veteran. He is coming from the position of city manager for the City of Barstow. He was hired by Barstow in September 2021. Willie served as the director of the General Services Agency in Alameda County prior to joining the Barstow city staff. He earned a BA from Alcorn State University. Former Palm Springs City Manager David Ready confirmed to The Desert Sun newspaper that he is a candidate for the District 5 City Council seat on the Palm Springs City Council. David served as the Palm Springs city manager for 20 years. Current District 5 Council Member Lisa Middleton is not seeking re-election as she is a 19th District State Senate seat candidate. Since retiring as city manager, David has served short interim city manager assignments in Palos Verdes Estates and Rolling Hills. He is also serving as an adjunct professor in the public administration program at California State University, San Bernardino. David earned a BA and Doctorate from Kent State University and a Masters from the University of Akron. In 2018, he received a 35-year ICMA Service Award.
Working with City Manager Marianna Marysheva, Paul Spence is the new assistant city manager for the City of Livermore replacing Assistant City Manager Christine Martin, who retired. Paul previously worked as the Livermore community development director. He began his public service career in 2001 as an associate planner for Livermore. He earned a BA from Pomona College and an MA in urban and regional planning from the University of California, Irvine. Marianna, the city manager, came to Livermore in May 2022 from Irvine, where she served as assistant city manager. She is a member of the ICMA Smart Communities Committee.
Former Milpitas city manager Steven McHarris is taking legal action against the city for wrongful termination and breach of contract. Steve is seeking more than $25,000 in relief and attorney fees. He served as the Milpitas city manager from May 2020 to June 2023. It appears that Steve has not been employed since leaving the city. He previously held economic development and planning positions in Soledad, and San Jose. Christopher Smith is a new deputy city manager for the City of Santa Monica as part of a restructuring of Santa Monica local government. Chris has worked for the city for 13 years. He has been serving as chief of staff for the City Manager’s Office for 8 years. As deputy city manager he will be responsible for the city’s internal services departments; the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) team and the new chief of staff. He is assuming the title formerly held by Anuj Gupta, the city’s new transportation director. Christopher earned a BA from the University of Washington and an MPA from California State University, Long Beach. Long Beach Deputy City Manager April Walker began her tenure as the Long Beach assistant city manager on December 31, 2023. City Manager Tom Modica named April to succeed Assistant City Manager Linda F. Tatum, who retired.
- Albany City Manager Nicole Almaguer earned an MS in environmental science from the University of San Francisco.
- New Palm Spring Chief Economic Development Officer Wayne Olson has previous experience with the City of Palm Desert.
- As the cost of local government increases, Long Beach City Council Members approved new agreements with the Long Beach City Prosecutors Association, the Long Beach Management Association and the Long Beach Association of Confidential Employees increasing salary, wages, and some benefits, like the increased city contributions to employee deferred compensation plans.
- Parlier City Manager Sonia Hall has been serving in a toxic working environment soured by in-fighting tensions between council members, including requested police reports and requested action by the District Attorney.
- Sausalito City Manager Chris Zapata previously served as city manager in the cities of National City (2004-2012), San Leandro (2012-2018) and Anaheim (2018-2020) before he started as city manager in Sausalito in June 2021.
- Red Bluff City Manager Tom Westbrook has been working on a new service agreement with Green Waste of Tehama who has provided solid waste collections services in Red Bluff since 1998.
- Former La Habra Chief of Police Alan Hostetter was sentenced to 135 months in prison for his role in the January 6 U.S. Capitol protest actions.
- Since 2018, West Sacramento City Manager Aaron Laurel is originally from the Bay Area and joined the West Sacramento city staff in 2005.
- Lone Pine is an unincorporated community in Inyo County in the Owens Valley near the Alabama Hills and Mount Whitney with a 2010 population of 2,035.
- Ashley D. Turney is the new assistant city manager for the City of Reno, Nevada where she worked as the chief innovation and experience officer.
- Atascadero City Manager Jim Lewis recently introduced David Fleishman of Richards, Watson & Gershon (RWG) as the new city attorney and Daniel B. Suttles as the new Atascadero chief of police.
- Indio Community Services Manager Jim Curtis works closely with a team that provides the Coachella and Stagecoach music and arts festivals that draw 100,000 plus visitors a day.
- Former Plumas County Supervisor Jon Kennedy is the city manager for Portola, California since January 2022.
- Wheatland City Manager Jim Goodwin was named town manager for Paradise in July.
- Palm Desert City Manager Todd Hileman was the city manager in Denton, Texas when he was hired in Palm Desert and Village Manager of Glenview, Michigan before that.
- Irvine joined Pasadena, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and Los Angeles by banning the use of gas-powered lawn maintenance equipment, including leaf blowers, lawnmowers, string trimmers, hedge trimmers, edgers and chainsaws.