A former Redwood City deputy city manager worked with under-served youth and families has been chosen as East Palo Alto's new city manager, the city announced on Friday, Aug. 3.
Magda Gonzalez, 48, will replace ML Gordon, who retired March 2. Police Chief Ronald Davis has served as interim city manager since then but chose not to apply for the permanent position. Gonzalez's selection follows an extensive six-month national search that attracted 78 applicants.
Gonzalez holds a bachelor's degree in social science from California State University, Sacramento, and a law degree from Santa Clara University Law School.
She has extensive experience in municipal government, working in executive-level positions, including as human-resources director, assistant city manager and deputy city manager, in the cities of Belmont, San Bruno and Redwood City. She was laid off from her position at Redwood City last year.
She grew up in Redwood City and graduated from Sequoia High School in 1981. She spent her teen years working at the Fair Oaks Community Center in the city's core Latino district. The center provides services to some of the city's most needy. She also worked as the center's director.
"The City Council was fortunate to be able to select from an extremely impressive and qualified pool of candidates. We are excited about our selection of Ms. Magda Gonzalez, who is recognized for her passion for civic engagement and community building and for her strong leadership and managerial skills. The council looks forward to working with her in moving the city forward," East Palo Alto Mayor Laura Martinez stated in a press release.
Gonzalez is president-elect of the International Hispanic Network and is current conference-planning chairperson at the International City/County Management Association (ICMA).
She is the recipient of the 2008 "Rising Star Award" from the Municipal Managers Association of Northern California, Women's Leadership Summit, and a 2007 "Leadership Hall of Fame Inductee" for the Redwood City/San Mateo County Chamber of Commerce. She is married and has a 13-year-old son.
The council is in the process of negotiating an employment contract with Gonzalez and will announce a hire date after successful negotiations are completed, the city announced.