By Roz Rogoff
My speculations on who will be the next City ManagerUploaded: Mar 6, 2011
Herb Moniz's retirement date is less than one week away. His contract is up officially on March 10, 2011. The City hasn't announced who his replacement will be yet. So I've decided to speculate on a few options. I have no inside information other than what Mayor Abram Wilson told me in an interview and other interviews I've read in the Express and other local news.
I have talked to a couple of managers in the City and they don't know anything either. Human Resources Manager, Cheryl Mitchell-Wade said she's been kept out of the loop. City Clerk Pat Edwards told me the same thing. Neither of them has applied for the position, but I suspect one or two of the City's Department Directors have.
My hunch is that a promotion will come from within. I believe this based largely on Glenn Wohltmann's interview of Dave Hudson a few weeks ago. Hudson listed all of the regional and political details the person hired must know about, and that would only leave someone already on staff or from another City in Contra Costa County.
If it is someone from a neighboring city, who would that be? Danville Town Manager, Joe Calabrigo maybe? Of all the nearby cities, Danville is probably closest to San Ramon in similar interests and regional issues. We also share the same School District.
Danville borders on Tassajara Valley and recently fought with San Ramon over who should have a Sphere of Influence there. Danville now has dibs on the section north of Camino Tassajara, where New Farm is proposing 42 homes including a multi-unit (I heard 8 but recently read 10), apartment building for low income, workforce housing.
If it is Calabrigo, don't expect a big drop in salary. Calabrigo is already earning over $310K from Danville, and I'm sure he wouldn't take the job here without a raise.
If it isn't Calabrigo, then maybe it is the Assistant Town Manager, Marcia Somers. It could be someone from Walnut Creek or Lafayette. I really don't know. I'm just guessing here, but when Moniz was fired, Gail Waiters, who was an Assistant City Manager in Oakland, was hired. Municipal workers are an inbred bunch and often move from one city to another in the same region.
The other possibility is someone already on the Staff. There are three Directors who might be next in line. My first pick would be Greg Rogers. He's Director of Administrative Services and the Finance Director. He's the guy that puts together the City's budget and has done a good job over the years. In my opinion (which doesn't count at all in this decision), he would be the best choice.
Mayor Wilson mentioned that Phil Wong has filled in for Herb Moniz when Moniz is on vacation. Wong is Director of Planning and has come under fire by some of the No on Measure W activists over rezoning the North Camino Ramon Specific Plan area. I don't know if it is Wong himself or the role of the Planning Department in controversial issues, but promoting Wong to City Manager could become a political issue in the upcoming election.
Another possibility, and again I don't know if any of these people even applied for the job, is Karen McNamara. Karen is Director of Public Services, which keeps the city infrastructure running smoothly and looking good. It's one of those jobs that doesn't get a lot of attention unless something goes wrong. Karen has also been Acting Director of Parks and Community Services since Jeff Eorio retired about a year ago. The fact that she's juggling two rather crucial Departments says she'd make a good City Manager to me. But again I'm not making that decision, nor do I even know who applied.
I also thought Mayor Wilson himself would make a good City Manager. He hasn't worked in that capacity, but he has been Mayor of San Ramon for almost eight years, and served on the City Council for four years before that. I think Wilson would make a great City Manager, but Cheryl Mitchell-Wade said he wouldn't be eligible because of conflict of interest. Well, he couldn't stay on as Mayor, but he will be termed out later this year. There might be other reasons why Wilson couldn't or wouldn't do it.
So those are my speculations on who might be the next City Manager. They are my guesses, and nothing else. I have no inside knowledge of who applied or who was interviewed or who the City Council will select (if they haven't already). So my guesses are as good as yours, but if I got one right, then I'm buying another lottery ticket next week.