Menlo Park city manager announces retirement

Menlo Park mayor comments on decision

Menlo Park City Manager Glen Rojas announced Tuesday morning (March 22) that he is retiring, effective July 15.

Rojas told the Almanac that it was a tough decision that he had been considering for a while.

Below is the text of an e-mail he sent to employees, City Council members and the city attorney:

"All employees

After careful consideration and consultation with my family I have decided to retire effective July 15, 2011. This decision was not an easy one considering that I have had an exciting and challenging 37-year public service career which includes my experiences working with such a talented group of employees here in Menlo Park.

The diversity of issues that we find in public service cannot be duplicated in the private sector. We could not meet these challenges without you, the dedicated and hard-working employees that make Menlo Park a great place to live and work.

As an organization we have many challenging projects that are important to our future which requires that over the next few months that I work with the City Council and staff to ensure a smooth transition.

Over the next few months I hope to be able to express my appreciation to as many of you as possible for all you do to make Menlo Park the quality City it is."

Rojas listed working with other city employees and philanthropist John Arrillaga, the major private donor to the city's new gymnasium and recreation center, as high points of his four years with Menlo Park, along with getting the downtown specific plan closer to completion.

With the highs come some lows, of course.

"We haven't gotten to the point where we have the full trust of some segments of the community," Rojas said. "Surveys say the average resident is satisfied with our services, but there's a smaller segment that for whatever reason just doesn't trust us. That's frustrating."

He described the council's reaction to his announcement as positive and gracious.

Mayor Rich Cline attributed the decision to Rojas's desire for more family time.

"He has been in the local government job a long time. In this instance I think he feels it is time and that is all," Cline said.

Cline added that the job of city manager, as well as council, is full of challenges and potential controversy, and that nothing happening currently differs from what people in those positions have faced during past years.

City staff and the council will meet during upcoming weeks to decide whether to promote from within or recruit outside Menlo Park for a new city manager.

What will Rojas do with all that free time, particularly on Tuesday nights when he no longer has to sit through council meetings past midnight? Some teaching, he said, working with his church, and hanging out with his grandchildren.

He plans to remain in Menlo Park. As for the $1.2 million loan he received from the city to buy a home in Menlo Park upon being hired in 2007, Rojas said he has two years to pay off the balance -- approximately $41,500 -- and may either refinance or sell the house.

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