In Search of … A New City Manager
By Robert Haugh
At Last Tuesday’s council meeting, Mayor Lisa Gillmor announced that there will be three public meetings for Santa Clarans to share their thoughts on what the city needs in a new City Manager. Details are below.
First, some history. It was almost exactly a year ago (May 31, 2016) that former City Manager Julio Fuentes resigned to head back to Southern California.
Then Public Works Director Rajeev Batra was promoted to Interim City Manager. He announced his retirement effective March 31, 2017 from city employment, but stayed on as a consultant. While a really nice guy, and very versed in Public Works, he never really seemed to understand the details of the job, as previously reported on this site:
The City then conducted a local and statewide search for a new city manager with a deadline to apply by May 31, 2017. We hear that there was a lot of interest in the job, but so far no names have leaked out. We previously printed the job description:
Appointed by the Mayor and City Council, the City Manager will oversee a full-service organization (including electric, water, sewer, and solar utilities) with 1078.25 FTE’s and 2016/17 total budget of $753.6 million. The ideal candidate is a proven executive leader with experience in economic development and municipal finance/budgeting, as well as an ability to continue the City’s efforts to incorporate community ethics and values into local government operations. A Bachelor’s degree in public/business administration or related field is required; a Master’s degree is highly desirable.
We also opined back in March that it would good for the new city manager to have a commitment to openness and transparency in government.
Since former Mayor Jamie Matthews resigned in February, 2016, City Hall has been significantly better. But it could still improve. We also wrote that it would be good for that person to have experience dealing with sports teams, like the 49ers. But since there are only 31 other NFL cities and only a couple other ones in California, that might be too much to ask. The city may need to hire a stadium manager to get that sports expertise.
We’re keeping our fingers crossed that Santa Clara hires a great City Manager so that the reforms started 16 months ago can continue.
Public Meetings for Santa Clarans to Discuss What We Need in a New City Manager (all meetings on Mondays):
- June 12, 4 p.m. Senior Center
- June 19, 6 p.m., Central Park Library
- June 26, 7 p.m., Northside Library
The City will also allow comments online: