MOUNTAIN VIEW WELCOMES LENKA WRIGHT AS FIRST CHIEF COMMS OFFICER

The City of Mountain View (Calif.) has hired Lenka Wright as its first Chief Communications Officer, highlighting the City Council and City Manager’s commitment to both internal and external communications and to community engagement in this San Francisco Bay Peninsula city in the diverse heart of Silicon Valley.

We are proud to have managed the recruitment that resulted in this synergistic match between a forward-thinking city and a communications pro with applicable education and a depth of experience that set her apart from the other candidates.

Read the City of Mountain View media release here.

Communications professionals are more and more in demand in local government agencies, as residents and stakeholders, marinated in social media and a 24/7 news cycle, demand transparency, clarity and speedy response in both emergency and everyday interactions.

“As people continue to communicate and engage in new ways in this digital world, I look forward to advancing communications while leveraging technology to build stronger connections with our diverse community,” Wright said in a city media release.

ANTIOCH WELCOMES BAYON MOORE AS ASST. CITY MANAGER

Congratulations to Rosanna Bayon Moore, who was selected as the Assistant City Manager for the City of Antioch (Calif)! For the past nine years, Bayon Moore has been City Manager for the City of Brawley, in Imperial County, and will begin her new position in late September.

TB&Co. is proud to have managed the recruitment that resulted in this outstanding match.

In a media release, Antioch City Manager Ron Bernal said, “I am thrilled to have Rosanna join our team. She will provide essential leadership and support to the City in moving community projects and the City Council’s priorities across the finish line. She is a seasoned local government professional and will be a great addition to our leadership team and the community. Her proven track record as a City Manager in getting things done and delivering on challenging projects with limited resources makes her a great match for the City of Antioch.”

That track record at Brawley includes a new fire station, an Emergency Operations Center, a new wastewater treatment plant and many facility and transportation improvements, all while the City was experiencing significant financial challenges and expanding its housing stock.

The education that supported Bayon Moore’s career includes a master’s degree in public administration and, at the beginning of her career, the Coro Fellows Program.

So get ready, Antioch! Not only are you getting a seasoned, successful assistant city manager, but also her family, which includes a resource teacher, a high school sophomore and a college freshman.

Read Ron Bernal’s monthly update to the community, which includes a welcome to Rosanna Bayon Moore.

CAN YOU BE OPTIMISTIC DURING TIMES LIKE THIS?

No doubt about it, these are difficult times for all of us. COVID-19, an uncertain economy, wildfires, polarizing national politics and social issues, and more: The combined weight can take a toll, personally, professionally and organizationally. Where can we find relief?

Last week, I was able to attend a one-hour online session called “Elevating Optimism and Personal Wellbeing,” with Tia Graham, founder and inspirationist at Arrive at Happy, a company with a mission to inspire transformation through the science of happiness. Graham caught me off guard when the first question she asked the assembled group was, “What if 2020 were the very best year of your life?”

Excuse me? What’s that now? This is one optimistic woman.

For the next hour or so, she gave the group insight into the science of happiness, and some concrete strategies to boost our individual optimism and ability to be resilient in difficult times like these.

The secret to being happy in the face of difficulty, she said, is twofold: Acceptance and positivity. We must practice the motivation and intention to accept what is and to notice the positivity in our days, no matter how small or large. Humans, Graham said, have a biological negativity bias. Our ancestors didn’t venture forth from safe caves expecting to find water and food; they expected to find danger and death in the search for water and food. Their survival depended on it. So we must face that bias head on every day, and counteract its hold on us.

The most fascinating fact she passed on (I hope I’m not stealing your thunder, Tia Graham) is that 50% of our happiness is genetic, passed on through generations. Only 10% of our happiness depends on our circumstances, like how much money we make, where we live or what we do for a living. Here is the cool part: The remaining 40% depends on the 3,000 or so choices we make every day. Some of those increase our wellbeing, some of them decrease our wellbeing, and we aren’t always mindful of which is which. But isn’t it empowering to know that you have that much control over your happiness?

With that intention in mind, Graham shared with the group a list of proven optimism boosters, road-tested and certain to, over time, morph the way you see your world and counteract your inherent negativity bias.

  1. Every day, when you get up, think or write down the answer to “What I am excited about today is …”
  2. If you feel anxious, sit still and go through your five senses, identifying what you see, smell, taste, feel and hear at that moment.
  3. At least three times a week, journal three things you are grateful for.
  4. Move! Exercise of any kind acts as a mood-booster and antidepressant.
  5. Practice generosity. Give of yourself, to other people, to animals, to the planet — whatever resonates with you.
  6. Journaling is shown to have profound effects on wellbeing, even if just for 20 minutes, three days in a row. Interestingly, the effects have been shown to be even more pronounced for men.
  7. Sleep at least 7-8 hours each night.
  8. Connect with family and friends. If you can’t do that in person right now, make the effort to do it virtually, on the phone, Zoom, texting, videos. Whatever it takes.
  9. Practice meditation daily. Even one minute a day helps.
  10. Use “primers,” words in your environment that remind you of your intentions, like Calm, Brave, Excited, etc. Keep them front and center in your home, office and car.
  11. Search out and enjoy humor, the emotion of amusement!
  12. Practice good nutrition. Taking in 4 to 7 servings of fruits and vegetables a day is proven to decrease stress.
  13. Read for pleasure.
  14. Keep learning and growing.

There is, of course, a lot more to the pursuit of happiness, but Graham offered the class pithy, actionable ideas that, even in merely contemplating them, left me feeling slightly more optimistic.

I still am doubtful that 2020 will be my best year ever, but there’s no reason it can’t break the Top 20!

For more information for people or organizations, visit https://www.arriveathappy.com/

CITY OF CYPRESS HIRES PLANNING DIRECTOR ALICIA VELASCO

Congratulations to the City of Cypress (Calif.) and to Alicia Velasco, who will shortly begin her tenure as Planning Director at the Orange County city of nearly 50,000.

In her new position, Velasco will oversee the planning, enforcement and housing functions, with four full-time staff. In a smaller city, successful managers must be hands-on, holding the vision and direction of the department and communicating across many internal and external partner roles, while also actively working to move specific projects and initiatives forward in accordance with the City’s master plan. We are confident the City has found its perfect candidate in Alicia Velasco.

Most recently, Velasco was with the City of Lomita, as Community and Economic Development Director, where she managed the divisions of Economic Development, Planning, Code Enforcement, Building and Safety, and Housing. She had earned that position from her previous role of Principal City Planner and, prior to that, Associate City Planner.

In the local newspaper, the Orange County Breeze, City Manager Peter Grant said, “Alicia’s 17 years of public and private sector experience have prepared her well to join the Cypress team. Her peers describe her as someone with the ‘figure it out’ gene and who understands the complex nature of local, state, and federal land use and environmental regulation.”

Read the entire Breeze story here

We agree with the City administration and Council that Velasco’s 17 years of municipal experience, with nine in a supervisory role, prepared her well for the Planning Director position. It’s been a pleasure to bring this professional and this team together!

 

NISHIL BALI IS THE NEW ROHNERT PARK FINANCE DIRECTOR

July brings a new fiscal year for most public agencies, and for the City of Rohnert Park (Calif), July 6 also brought the new Finance Director.

Nishil Bali was most recently the fiscal services manager for the City of Berkeley’s Planning & Development department, managing the $27 million budget and payroll, along with many other fiscal operations.

“Over the years, I have gained a well-rounded experience that allows me to provide financial stewardship across key municipal financial functions and lead interdisciplinary financial, budgetary and operational challenges faced by cities. My expertise lies in being a hands-on manager who can work directly with financial details and adapt to fill gaps in skill levels for my team, as well as guide long-range planning and decision making,” Bali said.

Prior to his time at Berkeley, Bali spent six years in financial positions at the City and County of San Francisco, serving the SFPUC and Office of Contracts, and the San Francisco Airport.

He holds a bachelor’s degree from Gujarat University in India, as well as master’s degrees in Engineering & Project Management from UC-Berkeley and in Finance from IE Business School in Madrid.

Congratulations to both the City of Rohnert Park and Nishil Bali! It is a pleasure to manage a recruitment that works out so well for all involved!

HUNTINGTON BEACH WELCOMES PUBLIC WORKS DIRECTOR SEAN CRUMBY

Head shot of Sean Crumby

By the end of tonight’s Huntington Beach (Calif) City Council meeting, Sean Crumby will officially have the thumbs up as the next Public Works Director for Surf City, USA!

During the past few months, the City conducted a national recruitment process, managed by Teri Black & Co., to find the best possible successor to former Public Works Director Travis Hopkins, who was promoted to assistant city manager this spring.

Until Crumby starts his new position in August, he will finish up his current duties as  both the Deputy General Manager / Director of Engineering for the Long Beach Water Department and the Bureau Manager of Engineering for the Long Beach Energy Resources Department. Prior to that, Crumby also served Long Beach as deputy director of Public Works / City Engineer during his 20+ years of public works and civil engineering experience.

As Huntington Beach’s Public Works Director, Crumby will oversee

  • a $114 million department budget (nearly $24.6 million in CIP)
  • 207 full and part-time staff
  • 6 divisions.

City Manager Oliver Chi said he is confident that Crumby is the person for the job. “Throughout the recruitment process, Sean has risen to the top with his years of experience, proven track record in similar organizations, and a leadership philosophy rooted in hard work and humility,” Chi said. “As we face uncertain economic times following the COVID-19 pandemic, I am confident Sean can step in to serve and lead our people in the Public Works Department, while simultaneously helping us meet our infrastructure goals within our current budget reality.”

Crumby is a Registered Civil Engineer and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Nevada.

We wish you the best in your new position, Sean, and will keep an eye on your progress and successes!

(Special shout out to PW administrator Tom Herbel, who stepped up to serve as acting Public Works director!)

SANTA ROSA HIRES NEW COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT DIRECTOR

Congratulations to the City of Santa Rosa and to Magali Telles, the City’s new Community Engagement Division Director. We at TB & Co. were honored to manage the recruitment process that brought these two together.

In a media release, City Manager Sean McGlynn said, “Ms. Telles understands the important time our community is in and is ready to engage, participate and facilitate the difficult conversations that are long overdue. We are excited to have her as part of our team to lead honest and open engagement at such a critical time.”

We will not be surprised to see other cities and counties consider hiring staff who are tasked with facilitating or implementing projects and plans aimed at bringing diverse community members together. In addition to Community Engagement efforts and strategy, Telles will implement the City’s newly created Community Empowerment Plan, oversee the Violence Prevention Partnership and provide support to the Community
Advisory Board and the City Council Open Government Task Force Implementation Subcommittee.

Read the City’s media release here

Telles, who has a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a Master’s degree in Curriculum, Teaching and Learning, has been Executive Director of Los Cien, Sonoma County’s largest Latino leadership organization, since 2018. Prior to that, she was coordinator of college readiness programs at Sonoma State University.

As our country and our communities look for collaborative ways to move forward together, there is certainly a role for local government, as well as for NGO’s, the faith community, service clubs, families, individuals and more.

Read the story about Magali Telles in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. 

SUSAN HSIEH IS NEW SAN LEANDRO FINANCE DIRECTOR

After a broad recruitment and talent search, Susan Hsieh will take the reins as the City of San Leandro’s Finance Director on Monday, June 22, City Manager Jeff Kay announced earlier this month.

Susan had been Finance Director for the City of Emeryville since 2016, and before that, spent seven years as the Assistant Finance Director for the Association of Bay Area Governments. Earlier in her career, Susan worked for the City of Albany and as an auditor for Grant Thornton. She has a BA in accounting and an MBA in Finance and Management from Cal State East Bay. She is a certified public accountant.

Congratulations to Susan and to the City of San Leandro, as they work together to lead the city and its residents as, along with the rest of the country, they recover from the impacts of COVID-19.

 

CITY OF ANTIOCH HIRES JOHN SAMUELSON FOR PUBLIC WORKS POST

Let’s finish this week with more good news: John Samuelson joined the City of Antioch (Calif.) as its new Public Works Director/City Engineer on June 1. Samuelson will lead the Public Works Department’s team of more than 100 employees, who provide essential services such as water treatment, water distribution, sewer collection systems, city facility maintenance, landscape maintenance, road maintenance, engineering services, the municipal marina, mapping and the City’s Call Center. Interesting aside: John is sixth Public Works Director/City Engineer in the history of the city.

Samuelson comes to Antioch from the City of Brentwood, where he served as an Engineering Manager, overseeing their capital improvement program, GIS system and construction inspection function.  John also spent ten years with the City of Rancho Cordova, managing their traffic engineering and street operations and maintenance divisions.  Samuelson has his degree in Civil Engineering from California State University, Sacramento, and is a licensed civil and traffic engineer.

TBC is proud to work to connect excellent candidates to the right positions, and to find the right fit for our local government clients and their communities. Follow us to stay apprised of current and upcoming searches.

CITY OF PACIFICA WELCOMES LISA PETERSEN AS PUBLIC WORKS DIRECTOR

This is the best part of our job: Today we get to congratulate both the City of Pacifica, California, and Lisa Petersen, the city’s new Director of Public Works.

Lisa will officially take the reins on July 6, in the middle of what is prime road maintenance season for most NorCal municipalities. The residents of her new city will be pleased to learn that Petersen has a track record of improving the PCI (pavement condition index) in cities in which she has worked, most recently the Town of Los Gatos in Santa Clara County, where she has been Assistant Public Works Director since May 2014.

A licensed civil engineer, Petersen has more than 25 years of public sector experience and spent two years at a private engineering firm, as well. She is ready to make a difference in Pacifica with her strategic planning, infrastructure improvement and employee development skills.

The City has found a consummate public works professional, who is a great fit for the seaside community and will make her mark quickly and skillfully. It’s why we do what we do! Follow us on social media to keep apprised of local government opportunities in your sector!