Palo Alto taps Mike Sartor to head Public Works -- for now

Department veteran to replace Glenn Roberts while city searches for permanent director

Mike Sartor, who has spent the past eight years in the number two position in Palo Alto's Public Works Department, will fill the department's top position while the city searches for departing Director Glenn Roberts' permanent replacement, City Manager James Keene announced Wednesday.

Sartor, who has been the city's assistant director of engineering since 2002, will serve as the acting public works director, Keene said in a news release. Sartor has been heavily involved in running the city's capital improvement program and has regularly filled in for Roberts at City Council meetings.

Roberts resigned abruptly last month after a dispute with the city and will remain on administrative leave until his retirement in late December. The council approved a six-month severance package for Roberts worth $130,655.

Before coming to Palo Alto, Sartor managed the capital program in Mountain View and had spent 10 years at Woodward Clyde Consulting, where he directed the environmental and waste remediation program.

"I look forward to this opportunity to serve the City while a search for a new Public Works Director is conducted," Sartor said in a statement. "We have a great group of dedicated employees in this department and I am pleased to keep many critical projects like the library construction project, Arc Center renovation, and landfill closure moving forward during this transition period."

Meanwhile, the city's Environmental Compliance Division Manager Phil Bobel will step into Sartor's position, Keene announced. Bobel has been leading the city's environmental efforts since 1989 and has been heavily involved in Palo Alto's ongoing plans to close the city's landfill and in the city's recent ordinances limiting the use of plastic bags and Styrofoam containers.

Both Sartor and Bobel have already begun their new assignments, for which they will receive five percent raises. They are slated to receive up to $168,854 and $153,442, respectively, depending on the duration of their assignments.

"Rather than bring in outside assistance for the short term, I decided to tap long-time managers to help us through this transition while we search for a new leader for the department," Keene said in the statement. "Mike and Phil have worked on many of the challenging issues currently facing the department and will help us move forward."

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