Deputy City Manager Rob de Geus to depart | News | Palo Alto Online |


Deputy City Manager Rob de Geus to depart

City Hall veteran accepts city manager job in Southern California

Deputy City Manager Rob de Geus, a City Hall veteran who has been temporarily leading the Palo Alto's new Department of Transportation, will be stepping down at the end of February to start a new job as city manager of Westlake Village in Los Angeles County.

De Geus, who joined the city in 2000, had spent most of his tenure in the Community Services Department where he started out as recreation coordinator. He was promoted to director of community services in 2015 and spent two years in the department's top position before transitioning to the city manager's office.

Since then, he has been leading the city's various community engagement efforts and assisting with various infrastructure projects, including the renovation of the Palo Alto Municipal Golf Course, which reopened last year under the aegis of Baylands Golf Links, and the renovation of the Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo, a project that is now being constructed, mostly with private funding.

He has also been heavily active in Project Safety Net, a collaborative effort between the city, the Palo Alto school district and the broader community that was formed after a cluster of teen suicides and that focuses on youth well-being. He has also been heavily involved in the city's recent efforts to lower costs for its animal services and its swimming program at Rinconada Pool, which culminated in public-private partnerships with Pets In Need and Team Sheeper, respectively, in December.

Most recently, de Geus had seen his portfolio expand even further to include transportation. He has been the public face of the city's effort to redesign the city's four rail crossings, a project often referred to as the largest infrastructure project in Palo Alto's history. He has also been managing the city's newly formed Office of Transportation, which has been short-staffed since last August, when the city's Chief Transportation Officer Joshuah Mello resigned to become a district transportation lead at Google.

City Manager Ed Shikada announced de Geus' resignation on Friday. He said de Geus will remain with Palo Alto through February to assist with transitioning the work that he oversees.

"The recruitment of Rob to the next level as a city manager is testament to the high caliber of our employees who are sought after by other cities," Shikada said in a statement. "Rob has been with Palo Alto for nearly two decades, and this is a great opportunity for him both professionally and personally. We appreciate Rob's long service and dedication to this community, and thank him for his many contributions to improving the quality of life for our residents."

In the announcement, Shikada added that the city has not yet made a decision about recruitment for the deputy city manager position (one of two such positions in the city manager's office). That will be part of the city's ongoing organizational assessment about how best to prioritize resources and personnel across the city, Shikada said.

De Geus' impending departure is the latest in the series of executive-level openings at City Hall. City Auditor Harriett Richardson also plans to retire on Feb. 15. The city's Fire Department has a temporary leader in Geo Blackshire, who will be filling in until a permanent chief is selected to succeed Eric Nickel, who started working as chief of the Santa Barbara Fire Department earlier this month.

The city is also searching for a planning director, chief financial officer, chief information officer, development services director and community services director, a job de Geus previously served before becoming deputy city manager in 2017.


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Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Charleston Meadows

on Jan 19, 2019 at 2:49 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

6 people like this
Posted by Reality Check
a resident of University South
on Jan 19, 2019 at 3:39 pm

Better headline: “City of Palo Alto Managers Continue to Jump Ship after Appointment of Ed Shikada as City Manager.”

12 people like this
Posted by Keene dynasty
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2019 at 4:20 pm

reality check,

“City of Palo Alto Managers Continue to Jump Ship after Appointment of Ed Shikada as City Manager.”

This could be a good thing given the recent survey of growing dissatisfaction with the City which reflects Keene's work.

This is yet another person taking credit for the pets in need resolution, sheesh how many chiefs, assistants and assistants to the assistants did it take to work on that?

Transitions are not easy but they could be opportunities which hopefully in this case will be used for the benefit of residents and not the same ole same ole.

6 people like this
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 19, 2019 at 7:17 pm

Mark Weiss is a registered user.

As long as we don’t farm out the whole thing to logistics company / defense contractor (as we did with RPP) or to a dark star data sifting unicorn / defense contractor (as we did for....who knows what?).

This is creeping towards feudalism (systematic undermining of public sector) or worse.

7 people like this
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 19, 2019 at 7:18 pm

Mark Weiss is a registered user.

Oh, I meant to say thanks, Rob and good luck in L.A.

12 people like this
Posted by Rose
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 21, 2019 at 10:39 am

Rose is a registered user.

Many thanks for your service to our residents. You’ve always been approachable, open and available to community members. We’ll miss you.

8 people like this
Posted by Old Palo Alto Resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 21, 2019 at 10:45 am

Just curious-- What type of pension/benefit package does Mr. DeGeus depart with after 19 years of service in PA?

14 people like this
Posted by Thank you, Rob.
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 21, 2019 at 12:27 pm

Thank you, Rob. is a registered user.

It has been a pleasure working with you as a citizen volunteer, Rob. Your positive attitude, civil and warm demeanor, and caring and thoughtful problem-solving will be missed--along with all of the historical knowledge of our fair city that is tucked away in your brain.

I'm sad to see you go...but wishing you the very best in your next endeavors. 19 years. Wow. Time flies.

Best wishes!

4 people like this
Posted by Sheri
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 22, 2019 at 10:44 am

Sheri is a registered user.

Congratulations, Rob! Enjoyed working with you these past many years and wish you well on your new endeavor.

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