In Search of … A New City Manager (Opinion)

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:


  1. Robert,

    While I appreciate your intent, it looks like your “blog” has devolved into middle school cafeteria food fight. You are certainly helping to rile up NIMBYs and provide an antagonistic and hostile space for people to attack one another, and in turn do nothing to help bring unity for the Mission City.

    Maybe some better moderation in the comments section, or maybe less petty attacks in your articles and focusing more on facts. A lot of my friends and neighbors do not read the San Jose Inside because it has turned into a hub for vile and hateful comments, and your page is full of the same garbage.

    Yesterday I was with some friends at their home in the “North side” of Santa Clara, I shared with them your page and they read through some of your postings and comments. They were disgusted, one commented, while shaking his head was, “I love this city, but these clowns would rather us go back to 1950 then try to live in 2017.”

    I would hope that you could take a more balanced view of Santa Clara and her residents, instead of just being a mouth piece for the pettiest and most selfish residents. The more things change, the more they… you know how it goes.

  2. Poor little Dom … Having yet another tantrum! He can’t have his way so he calls Lisa names — that sure shows the red ‘n gold shock collar around his neck, doesn’t it!

    Go Dorothy Go Girl! LIsa is the best ray of sunshine Santa Clara has seen in decades. Thanks to her tenacity we’ve started to see some of the dead and decaying wood finally leaving.

    Ren was an awful attorney and solely worked FOR the Niners and has left Santa Clara in real mess … Thanks to him, Gary, Julio, Jamie, some (past & present) council-members & some City Staff (that still needs to go) Santa Clara is in financial peril … Santa Clara County Grand Jury Audit should finally clarify much of that mess too. Lost great people? Really Dom? Like people who spent money on plastic plants? Or a million on unowned overpasses? Or millions when zero was promised on Super Events? Or didn’t deliver as promised? Thanks God they are gone! Look forward to MORE going and soon too! Santa Clara needs staff that works FOR Santa Clarans as one lady says so well and not for the 49ers, special interests and the developers. Let’s all ask, “who are these people working for?”

    Poor Dom — he just can’t stand hearing from the pesky public especially those that know more than he does and those that know he is full of crap too!

    • Thank you Henry- you are spot on.

      Dominic has been acting like a no class fool on the dais being rude, nasty and unprofessional. Between his and Mahan’s personal verbal attacks on the mayor and city attorney and Patty Mahan’s constant whining how she is not part of the in crowd, so embarrassing. There is always going to be personality conflicts at some level within the council but bringing all the drama to the dais is not acceptable.
      Caserta & Mahan need to go

  3. Dominic Caserta is Lilly & Janet. Did he forget that he has used these girls names for other letters and comments in the past and told a couple friends and coworkers about his clever little name game. Obviously the stress is getting to him.

    • Who are the co workers and friends Dominic used? If you are going to libel Dominic give the names of these so called friends and co workers of his.

      Lisa has made millions on her insider connections. Dominic is a teacher who again was recognized by his students as Tracher of the Year. Lisa is a divisive figure.

  4. Robert –

    Thanks for publicizing these meetings for public input on helping select the next City Manager.
    These should have been done BEFORE the HR developed job description was developed.
    Btw, the outreach for the most important job in Santa Clara was dismal as was the recruitment
    brochure. Huge missed opportunities to get in the news as well as a proper statewide and
    national search that could have yielded more candidates (and probably more stellar candidates).
    The Mayor and City Council screwed up big time on this. This is them listening to the criticism
    and trying to make it right, but the flawed process that gave us Julio Fuentes was repeated. Ugh!

    Let’s hope this public process stops us from getting another back room dealing City Manager
    who was a bully (and seemed to line his own pockets but we can’t seem to prove it yet)

    Janet –

    Can you help educate me via some examples of how Mayor Gillmor has been a bully or has been
    insecure or pushed people apart?

    Lilly –

    Can you help educate me with some examples of who has left?
    How Mayor Gillmor has had “Draconian leadership?”
    Or any “retaliation” from the Mayor?
    Or how the Mayor has created a “Toxic work environment?”


    I ask these questions sincerely since it seems easy to charge someone like a journalist with not
    covering the situations on the ground. But if you know specific, first hand knowledge and can name names of who has left and why… I think this is useful here as well as in these three Monday meetings regarding the hiring of the new City Manager.


    • Talk to Gary or Ren or most people doing business in our city and Robert still waiting for one critical comment of Lisa just one!

    • Thank you Janet… glad that you mentioned some specific examples.

      Gary Amerling and Ren Nofsky were the ones that created the legal paperwork that has tied the hands that have given the 49ers the upper hand on everything.

      Ren created the contracts that were a three party deal: Stadium Authority, ManCo and StadCo (latter two being 49er subisidiaries) that favored the 49ers and locked down control with them.

      Gary was involved in the Financial creation of the paperwork and contracts?
      Was he also involved in not letting the City get FULL access to these at City Hall?
      And only give overview line items to the City Council?


      Any other examples?

  5. Thanks for reporting the meetings. I’ll definitely attend one. The next person needs to control the 49ers and be able to balance the budget. Everything else is gravy.

  6. I know first hand Lisa Gillmor is a bully. If you don’t agree with her all the time she is vindictive. She was appointed claiming to bring people together. A year plus later the city is more divided than ever all because of the insecure leadership of Lisa. And Robert where is one time where you have ever been critical of the Mayor pls point to one article ever pls?

    • Hey Janet, I agree with you about Lisa Gillmore being a bully.She is a bully, when she stands up for the people that have to put up with the noise , when Jed York is trying to run our city ,when our police chief tries to charge the city of Santa Clara instead of the 49ers. I could go on and on. Make sure you can prove everything you say. I know I can

  7. You state things are better at City Hall. You are wrong the morale of employees is at an all-time low and we have lost immense talent at city hall because of the Draconian leadership of Lisa Gillmor. Simply stated employees are afraid to tell her the truth in fear that she will retaliate against them. Gillmor has created a toxic work environment.

    Robert get your facts straight you make statements again to lionize Gillmor that are alternative facts!!!

    • Lilly, Lisa Gillmore is the most honest and kind person I have ever met. I do not know where you are getting your facts from but you sure sound like Donald Trump.

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