Trackdown Management

Trackdown Management’s City Manager Newsletter: Volume No. 17: Issue No. 07

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

Newswriter Priscilla Lara reports that the Arvin City Council voted to eliminate the assistant city manager position. Arvin Mayor Daniel Borreli said the City has other needs before an assistant city manager. Arvin City Manager Jeff Jones doubles as the director of public works. Jeff had planned to combine the assistant city manager position with the duties of human resources and community development director. He saw the proposal as “a cost savings move.”

Former Salinas City Manager Steve Carrigan is pursuing legal action against the City of San Bernardino regarding his dismissal. He claims that, though he was the top choice in their recruitment, the offer he accepted was rescinded based on racial considerations. The offer withdrawal occurred after he left his job in Salinas.

San Leandro City Manager Fran Robustelli is the finalist for the city manager position in St. Pete Beach, Florida. Fran has been the San Leandro city manager for the past four years. After working for the Dublin San Ramon Services District for 16 years in human resources, Fran was appointed director of human resources for the City of Hayward in March 2010. She took a similar director’s post for the City of Walnut Creek in March 2014 and rose in that organization to assistant city manager in August 2015. In 2019 Fran served as the Napa assistant city manager in 2019 and was selected to be the San Leandro city manager in May 2021. Fran earned a BA from the University of South Florida and an MPA from the University of Missouri, Columbia.

Retired Moreno Valley City Manager Gene Rogers passed away this month. He was 74 years old. Gene had been battling leukemia for several months. Gene lived in Pebble Beach. He served as the Moreno Valley city manager from August 1996 to January 2006. Gene began his public service career working for the City of Sunnyvale as an administrative aide in February 1978. Following his retirement, Gene took a number of “interim” assignments, including interim city manager in the cities of Coachella and Davis. He earned a BS and MS from San Jose State University. Gene was an exceptionally good golfer and played in some elite quality tournaments. In 2019, Gene received a 35-year ICMA Service Award.

Pacific Grove has been without a city manager since City Manager Ben Harvey and the City mutually parted ways in July 2023. Robert Perrault has served as interim city manager since November 2023. City of Marina Assistant City Manager Mathew Mogensen was selected to be the next Pacific Grove city manager. Prior to working for Marina, Mathew worked for the City of Fountain Valley from 2008 to 2018. He was an assistant planner for the City of Brea starting in July 2005. Mathew earned a BA in geography from California State University, Fullerton and MPA from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.

Vallejo has retained Beverli Marshall to serve as interim city manager. She replaced City Manager Mike Malone, who retired on April 19. Beverli most recently served as city manager for Glenwood Springs, Colorado. She earned an MPA from the University of Alaska, Anchorage, and a Doctorate in business administration from Alliant International University.

David Kiff is the new city manager for the City of Laguna Beach. After working in the State Capitol as a committee consultant for the California State Senate (1988-1993), Dave served as the Newport Beach city manager (1998-2018). Since September 2018, he has served as the interim executive director of the Association of California Cities – Orange County. Dave earned a BA from California State University, Sacramento, and a Master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Dave is a four-time participant in the Ironman Triathlon.

Ryan Arthur Kintz is the new assistant city manager for the City of Carpinteria, effective April 29. Ryan has served as the assistant to the city manager in Goleta since April 2020. After some positions with the University of California, Santa Barbara starting in 2007, and working in the private sector, including a biologist aide position with the Cachuma Operation & Maintenance Board, Inc., Ryan joined the City of Ventura’s staff as an environmental services specialist. He took a Public Works Administration post with the City of Goleta. Ryan became the assistant to the city manager in April 2020. Ryan earned a BS and a Master of Environmental Science from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Moorpark City Manager Troy Brown received a $20,000 increase in pay in early April, taking his pay to $263,973. This 8.2% increase followed an annual performance evaluation by the city council. Troy began his Moorpark city manager service in March 2018. He previously worked as the city manager for the City of Tracy. Troy succeeded City Manager Steve Kueny, who retired following a 33-year tenure.

Menifee Assistant City Manager Rochelle Clayton is the new deputy city manager for the City of San Bernardino. She has served as the Menifee assistant city manager since July 2021. Prior to her Menifee tenure, she served as deputy city manager and administrative services director for the City of Banning. Rochelle also held positions with the West Valley Water District in Rialto, the High Desert Water District in Yucca Valley and she worked as the finance director for the City of La Habra Heights. She earned a BA from California State University, San Bernardino.

Dr. Frank Benest, Chantal Cotton Gaines and Rod Gould authored an article published in the March 2024 issue of PM Magazine entitled: Defending American Democracy at the Local Level. Frank is a retired Palo Alto city manager; Rod is a retired Santa Monica city manager, and Chantal is the deputy city manager for the City of Palo Alto. Their PM Magazine contribution is a good read.

Local government must guard against attacks on democracy.

Once again, the California City city manager drama continues. Just when it was thought Patrick Marsh was selected and going to sign an employment agreement to be city manager, the contract negotiations failed, and Patrick is out. California City Human Resources Director Latisha Lamberth has been tapped as acting city manager while recruitment continues. Others who have served as city manager include Michele Martinez, who resigned after 10 weeks, and Martín Piñon, Joe Barragan, Inges Elmes, Jim Hart and Doug Dunford. Since May 2023, Doug has served as the city manager for the City of Ceres.

In 2013, former Westminster Chief of Police and City Manager James Mitchell “Mitch” Waller, was killed on Laguna Canyon Road near Laguna Beach when he was riding his bicycle. A 25-year-old woman swerved for an unknown reason and hit Mitch and his fellow cyclist with her car. Mitch died at the accident scene, and his riding friend Kevin Beach was taken to a Mission Viejo hospital. Mitch joined the Westminster police department in 1984. He became chief of police in December 2009. Mitch was 53 years old at his death. The driver of the car was not suspected of driving under the influence at the time.

Indio City Manager Bryan Montgomery has a new Indio director of finance to work with. Ruby began her public service career in 2002 with the City of Brawley as an accounting assistant. She worked briefly for the Imperial Irrigation District and returned to Brawley in 2007 as assistant finance officer. Ruby was promoted to Finance Director in 2010 and worked in that position until 2018 when she took the Assistant Finance Director post for the City of Indian Wells. Ruby earned a BS from California State University, San Bernardino, and she is pursuing an MPA with a concentration in financial management.

Rocky J. Fluhart passed away in January 2012 from Alzheimer’s. He was born June 11, 1951 in Norwalk, California. He served as assistant city manager in Lompoc before he joined the Ogden, Utah city staff as the director of public works in 1984 and became the CAO in 1992. He began his public service career as an intern with the City of Burbank. Rocky became the chief administrative officer for Salt Lake City, Utah in 2000. He earned a BA from Weber State University and an MPA from Kansas University.

Moorpark Deputy Community Development Director Douglas Spondello is the next Moorpark community development director. He joined the Moorpark city staff in 2019 as planning manager. He previously worked in planning for the City of Oxnard. Douglas earned a BA from Loyola Marymount University and an MPA from California State University, Northridge.

Bob Murray & Associates was retained by the City of Los Angeles to help the city’s executive recruitment efforts to find a new chief of police to replace Chief Michael Moore, who retired in January. Interim Chief of Police Dominic H. Choi is in command in the meantime. Bob Murray & Associates helped the City find former Chief William J. Bratton more than two decades ago.

Patti Garibay, Lancaster assistant director of community development, joined the City of Lancaster’s staff in November 2005 as a recreation coordinator. She became a recreation supervisor in 2008, management analyst II in 2013 and energy manager in 2015. She started her current post in May 2023. Patti earned a BA in communications from San Diego State University and an MPA from California State University, Northridge.


  • Rialto City Manager David Carmany resigned only 3 months into a 5-year employment agreement signed on January 23, 2024.
  • Former Brea City Managers Wayne Wedin and Frank Benest are past presidents of the City Managers’ Department of the League of California Cities.
  • Katie Bruner has served as the administrative services director for the Town of Moraga since February 2024.
  • Sam Olivito and Sharon Olivito were recently spotted having dinner at J’s Deli in Palm Desert.
  • California City Chief of Police Jesse Hightower has been dismissed as part of a budget spending-cutting strategy that has previously seen the dismissal of the fire chief and city clerk.
  • Kristine Guerrero, who earned a BA from UCLA and an MPA from USC, has worked as a public affairs manager and legislative director for the League of California Cities since May 2005.
  • ICMA Credentialed Manager Dr. Carlos A. Urrutia, who retired as city manager for the City of Rocklin in December 2010, previously worked for the cities of Rolling Hills, Hawaiian Gardens, Sunnyvale and Soledad.
  • Veteran retired City Manager Richard D. Rowe served as city manager for the cities of La Palma (1981-1986), Chino (1986-1996), Needles (2003-2008), and Barstow (2009-2011); and he served as interim city manager for Needles (2000-2002), Barstow (2008) and Canyon Lake (2012-2013).
  • James Lindsay was the planning & neighborhood services director for the City of Milpitas before joining the Saratoga city staff in October 2011 as community development director. He was appointed Saratoga city manager in July 2014.
  • Elected Arcadia City Clerk Gene Glasco retired this month.
  • Sausalito City Manager Chris Zapata was named to All-Conference teams in football, basketball and baseball, among his high school athletic accomplishments.
  • Former Santa Fe Springs and Rolling Hills City Manager Ray Cruz is a deputy Los Angeles County supervisor for constituent engagement for Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell.
  • Monterey Park City Manager Inez Alvarez worked for the City of Norwalk for nearly 12 years, leaving there in February 2018 when she was a recreation superintendent.
  • After retiring as the city manager for Temple City in 1990, Karl Koski served on the City of Laguna Beach Personnel Board starting in 2017.
  • Former Tripepi Smith & Associates Business Analyst Shannon O’Hare is currently the assistant city manager for the City of Larkspur.
  • Former Santa Paula City Manager (2002-2009), Wally Bobkiewicz is the city administrator for the City of Issaquah, Washington.
  • George Lee is the new City of Ione city manager.
  • Ryder White is the interim fire chief for California City, succeeding Chief Jeremy Kosick, who was dismissed after working more than 20 years for the City.
  • Son of the late legendary Antelope Valley journalist Vern Lawson, Vern Lawson, a UCLA alumnus, retired in 2018 as the Lancaster economic development director and former city manager for the cities of Lancaster and Walnut.
  • Jason Caudle became the Lancaster city manager in December 2018 and served as the city manager for Tehachapi from 1998 to November 2007.