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So...Speaking of City Managers

Original post made by Hmmm, East Palo Alto, on Apr 17, 2014

What cities have good city managers? We sure don't in EPA. Many of us miss ML Gordon. The PA asst city manager heading down south sounds like most people aren't bothered by it. What makes a good city manager, or asst city manager?

Comments (7)

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Apr 17, 2014 at 9:00 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

A great example is Theresa DellaSanta who was the Assistant Town Clerk in Atherton and then became the Town Clerk and then took on the responsibility of serving as Interim Town Manager while the Town searched for a permanent Town Manager. She is a true professional whose only goal is to serve the citizens of the Town. We are privileged to have her continue to serve as the Town Clerk now that there is a permanent and excellent Town Manager.

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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 21, 2014 at 6:17 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

Peter - I somehow missed your thoughtful comment. Thank you. Atherton's challenges are quite different from ours in East Palo Alto. I am really glad to read about the effective people who have integrity who have served in the city manager role. Perhaps one day again, soon, East Palo Alto will have a good city manager again, instead of Magda Gonzalez. I am disappointed that we also have a mayor who is supporting Gonzalez's lousy behavior and actions.

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Posted by What. Management
a resident of Evergreen Park
on May 21, 2014 at 7:37 pm

Palo Alto had a good city manager in the late eighties and early nineties, but he left because he could get better pay elsewhere. He also confided that Palo Alto was not a challenge to manage, and he was bored.

Apparently, South SF has a good city manager, named Steele.

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Posted by Citizen
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 22, 2014 at 9:18 am

You mean Palo Altans are not a challenge to manage. Just say they complain too much and feel too entitled, and they fold like cards, after paying huge amts in salary and benefits for someone to deal with the "Palo Alto" process (well-funded, well-behaved, smart citizens who don't get involved enough compared to other cities with more diversity).

I do not think much of our city management.

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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 22, 2014 at 8:35 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

I think that it can be hard for residents to judge city management, unless they're doing bad things or they lead really well through hard times. I've also noticed that unless you're close to various city processes, you don't know about employee morale and how employees are being treated.

East Palo Alto just had a great employee (and Palo Alto resident) driven to resign, and there are many informed residents unhappy with the lousy treatment programs, employees and residents are receiving at the hands of the current city manager.

It is good to hear that there are actually good city managers out there that people can name.

It is easy for these municipal executives to think of their places of employment as their resume-building fiefdoms. Residents don't witness this attitude the way that they might with their city councils. City managers who promise to take council members with them onto greener pastures with more glorious possibility is also not unheard of. I suspect that is happening.

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Posted by Alas Palo Alto
a resident of Evergreen Park
on May 24, 2014 at 5:08 pm

>It is easy for these municipal executives to think of their places of employment as their resume-building fiefdoms.
True. Palo Alto's CM is building up his staff hugely. He has increased development to the dismay of the citizens. Traffic and schools growing out of control. Construction of huge new library a disaster.
His solutions? More meetings, documents hundreds of pages long, hire more staff, hire more consultants.
The developers think he's really fine.

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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 27, 2014 at 6:06 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

How are city managers held accountable? They will hide behind their city council or shift the blame. Or, as in E. Palo Alto, they are protected by their unintelligent mayor. To whom does one complain about a corrupt or truly wasteful city manager? A city council that may not listen? What is the recourse for residents who are fed up with the behavior of city executives?

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