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
Veteran professional city manager Brad Kilger is back in the saddle as the City of Gustine has appointed him again as interim city manager. Brad served as city manager in the cities of Ceres, Martinez and Benicia and as town manager for Yucca Valley. He has taken assignments as interim city manager in South Lake Tahoe, Los Altos and Calistoga. Brad served as president of the City Managers Department of the League of California Cities in 2012 – 2013 when he was the Benicia City Manager. Since September 2020, Brad has served as an ICMA senior advisor. In 2019, he received a 40-years ICMA Service Award.
Highland Administrative Services Director Chuck Dantuono is the interim city manager following Highland City Manager Joseph Hughes’ retirement at the end of December. He has worked four years as director. Chuck is to serve until a city manager is appointed. Chuck serves on the executive committee for the California Intergovernmental Risk Authority (CIRA) as treasurer.
John Kunkel served as the City of Huron Interim City Manager. He reports that Virginia Peñaloza is the new Huron City Manager starting December 1. John previously served as the Buelton City Manager and as the Exeter City Administrator. He left Buelton in April 2013. Virginia earned a BA from the University of California, Merced. She worked for former U. S. Senator Barbara Boxer in 2014 – 2017, and for U. S. Senator Kamala Harris in 2017.
Former Pacific Grove City Manager Ben Harvey is the new Ojai City Manager. Ben worked in Bellflower starting in 1992 and served as assistant to the city administrator for Linda Lowry until 1997. He served as a management analyst in Newport Beach from 1997 to 1999 before working in the private sector for a time. He was a region manager for local public affairs for the Southern California Edison Company from 2006 to 2013. Ben worked as the city manager for the City of Avalon from 2013 to 2015 before moving to Pacific Grove. Ben earned his BA from the University of California, Davis and his MPA from California State University, Long Beach. Ben’s first day on the job in Ojai is January 29.
City Manager James Makshanoff ended his Pomona tenure on Monday, December 11, 2023. He agreed to a mutual employment separation agreement with the city. Jim began serving as the Pomona City Manager in January 2020. Prior to coming to Pomona, Jim worked as the city manager for the City of San Clemente (2014-2020) and Azusa (2012-2014). He worked as deputy city manager for the City of Downey in 2003-2005). He earned a BA and MPA from California State University, Long Beach. Pomona Assistant City Manager Anita D. Gutierrez is the Acting City Manager.
Simi Valley City Manager Brian Gabler, 63, will retire at the end of June. Brian has worked for the City of Simi Valley for 38 years. The last four years he served as city manager. Brian earned a BA from California State University, Northridge and an MPA from the University of Southern California (USC). He joined the Simi Valley city staff in 1986 as an administrative assistant. Brian went on to serve as assistant to the city manager, deputy city manager and assistant city manager. Brian is looking forward to retirement in Oregon.
Lindsay City Manager Joseph ”Joe” M. Tanner, Jr. has been on administrative leave since early December. Lindsay Recreation Services Director Armando da Silva was appointed interim city manager pending the conclusion of an investigation. Joe began his Lindsay tenure as city manager in March 2020. Armando is a Cerritos High School graduate and earned an AA from Cerritos College and from College of the Sequoias, City of Hanford Leadership Academy. Prior to Lindsay, Armando worked for the cities of Artesia, Cerritos, Porterville and Hanford. Joe Tanner previously held executive positions in the cities of San Ramon, Rio Vista, Desert Hot Springs, Town of Moraga, Port Hueneme and Monterey Park.
Mountain View City Manager Kimbra McCarthy introduced Maxine Gullo as the new Mountain View Human Resources Director. She previously served as the assistant city administrator for the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea. Maxine will start her new position with Mountain View on February 5. She worked in positions for the cities of Gilroy, Campbell, Sunnyvale, Los Gatos and Fremont. She earned a BA from San Jose State University. Santa Clara City Manager Jovan Grogan was awarded a salary adjustment bringing his base salary up to $418,220.76 annually. Jovan began his Santa Clara City Manager tenure in May 2023. He previously served as the city manager for the City of San Bruno (2018-2013) and he was the deputy city manager in Berkeley (2106- 2018) and the City of Concord (2015-2016). He joined Concord in 2013 as the budget officer. Jovan earned a BA and master’s degree in Urban & Regional Planning from Cornell University.
George Watts, a well-regarded high quality professional public manager, worked for the City of Arcadia for 22 years, the last 11 years starting in 1981 as city manager. He resigned in early 1992 following an election that delivered two new city council members intent on changing city managers. George began his public service career in 1966 as an intern for the City of Long Beach. In 1968, George took a similar position with the City of Commerce. He joined the city staff in the City of Arcadia in 1970 when he was hired as an administrative assistant. Following his Arcadia service, George was appointed city manager in Indian Wells. He served in Indian Wells until his retirement in 2001. George earned a BA from California State University, Long Beach. George is a natural showman, musician and singer. He and his blues band played in venues throughout Southern California.
Martin Piñon is the new Interim City Manager for the City of California City. He takes the place of Interim City Manager Michele Martinez, who resigned January 2 for personal issues, including “fearing for her safety.” Martin is the fifth city manager in California City this year. He is a former human resources director for Desert Hot Springs.
Raul Alvarez, 41, is the new city manager for the City of Montebello. Raul began his new position in November 2023 following the resignation of former City Manager Rene Bobadilla in May. Rene is now the city manager for the City of Santa Fe Springs. Raul is a graduate of Montebello High School and he earned a BA from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and an MPA from California State University, Long Beach. He previously served as assistant city manager for the cities of Huntington Park and Lynwood. He started his public service career as a deputy to Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina and as the district director and senior advisor to Assembly Member Anthony Rendon.
Veteran City Manager David N. Carmany is the new City of Rialto City Manager effective January 2024. David was the West Covina City Manager for nearly five years starting in April 2019. David previously served as city manager for the cities of La Puente (2014-2018), Manhattan Beach (2010-2013), Seal Beach (2007-2010), Pacifica (1997-2003), Malibu (1993-1997) and Agoura Hills (1987- 1993). David worked as the assistant city manager in the City of Alhambra from 1981 to 1987, and Grand Terrace and Lancaster prior to that. He was a PARS regional manager from April 2003 until May 2007. Dave earned a BS and MPA from the University of Southern California (USC). Dave has been a participant in the “Proof of Life” program. In 2023 David received a 40-year ICMA Service Award.
Former Lodi City Manager Steve Schwabauer came to the city in 1999 as assistant city attorney and became city attorney in 2004 following Randy Hays. Steve became city manager in the summer of 2014 taking over from former City Manager Rad Bartlam. Steve was hired as general manager of the North San Joaquin Water Conservation District starting in October 2023. Assistant City Manager Andrew Keys, who joined the Lodi city staff in 2017, succeeded Steve as city manager. Andrew previously worked for the City of Elk Grove.
Brookings, Oregon City Manager Janell Howard negotiated a separation agreement with the city. The council voted to terminate Janell and appoint Chief of Police Kelby McCrae to serve as acting city manager. Janell joined the Brookings city staff in July 2018. She has worked as the finance and human resources director and city manager. Janell earned a BS in Accounting from the University of Oregon. Brookings is located six miles northerly of the California border on U.S. Highway 101.
Former assistant city manager in La Habra Heights(1991-1994) and La Puente (1994-1995), Joe Perez, who worked for the City of Paramount for nearly 17 years, and the cities of Bell (2012-2015), Lawndale (2015-2016) and South Gate (2016-2020), is the community development director for the City of Jurupa Valley where he works with City Manager Rod Butler. Joe is a Lakewood High School graduate and he earned a BA from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
- Benicia Vice Mayor Terry Scott is the new chair of the Solano County Transit Board of Directors (SolTrans).
- Huron Chief of Police George Turegano is retiring in May 2024.
- Los Angeles Chief of Police Michel Moore, 63, who has been with the Department for more than 40 years, serving as chief since 2018, will retire at the end of the month.
- Daryl Parrish, who retired as the Covina City Manager and previously served as the Colton city manager, currently lives in Bend, Oregon.
- Cupertino City Manager Pamela Wu previously worked for Santa Clara County, Gilroy and San Bruno before she started in Cupertino in August 2022.
- Anthony Mata, San Jose Chief of Police, is set to retire in March and become the bureau chief for the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.
- Salinas Police Chief Roberto Filice has resigned to take a position with the East Bay Regional Park District as assistant general manager of public safety and police chief.
- Coronado Chief of Police since 2018, Charles “Chuck” Kaye has retired.
- Atwater Police Lieutenant William Novetzke earned a BS in Criminal Justice Management from Union Institute & University.
- Hanford City Manager Mario Cifuentez announced that Hanford has its first female chief of police in Stephanie Huddleston, who earned an MS in Criminology from California State University, Fresno.
- Michael Gerken replaced the retired Ray Gayk, who served as Ontario Fire Chief since 2018, as the City of Ontario’s 33rd fire chief.
- James Makshanoff is being paid $600,000 in severance, twice his annual salary, as he leaves his position as city manager for the City of Pomona.
- Former Antioch City Manager Ron Bernal will be on the ballot as a candidate for mayor.
- David Doyle became the City of Aliso Viejo City Manager following the resignation of City Manager Mark Pulone, who left to become the city manager for the City of Yorba Linda.
- Jurupa Valley, where Rod Butler is city manager, was incorporated in 2011 and has a population of 107,000.
- Stephanie Dietz, former Merced City Manager, is the new executive director of the Community Foundation of Merced County.
- According to the U. S. Census Bureau, between 2021 and 2022, roughly 818,000 residents moved out of California.
- Jim Madaffer, a former member of the San Diego City Council, is owner of the Julian Farm and Orchard.
- Michele Martinez, who served 12 years on the Santa Ana City Council and is a commissioner on the California Transportation Commission, was the interim city manager for the City of California City for 10 weeks.
- After serving in the U.S. Military (1955-1959), Leonard L. Whorton began his local government career in 1963 as an intern in Fresno and he retired as the county administrator for Sonoma County in 1985.
- Retired City Manager Michael Sakamoto worked with C. Raymond Wood of the Alexander Grant Company before beginning his city government service career.