Third high-level city employee leaving Menlo Park

Jesse Quirion, public works director, leaves Aug. 20

Menlo Park Public Works Director Jesse Quirion has announced he is leaving the city Aug. 20 for a job with Google in Tennessee. He is the third high-level city employee whose departure has been announced within a week.

Assistant City Manager Starla Jerome-Robinson is retiring on July 31 and Finance Director Drew Corbett is leaving Aug. 14 to take the same post with the city of San Mateo.

Jesse Quirion, Menlo Park's public works director, has announced he is leaving in August to work for Google in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo courtesy city of Menlo Park)
City Manager Alex McIntyre said he will attempt to find someone to act as an interim director of public works by the end of August, but that finding a permanent replacement will probably take until January 2016.

Mr. McIntyre said he does not see the three departures coming so close together as the sign of a problem in the city. "It's a coincidence," he said. "It's young people and their careers. They see opportunity and they take it."

Both Mr. Quirion and Mr. Corbett "are going off to much better, really, opportunities," he said. Mr. Corbett will have a more complex operation to work with, a bigger staff, and higher pay, Mr. McIntyre said.

Mr. Quirion will be able to relocate to the South, where both he and his wife are from, Mr. McIntyre said. He will be working on Google fiber projects, he said.

Mr. McIntyre said he had known Ms. Jerome-Robinson was retiring for several months, and that he knew Mr. Corbett was applying for jobs. "I knew when he applied to San Mateo, he'd get a job offer," he said.

Mr. Quirion's departure, however, was a surprise, he said. "I did not see this coming," he said. Mr. Quirion's desire to work for Google, in addition to being closer to his roots and making more money, makes sense to him, however. "He's always been what we call an early adapter of technology," Mr. McIntyre said.

The city will survive this, Mr. McIntyre said.

"None of this is cataclysmic," he said. "We just can't afford any hiccups."

Mr. Quirion was only appointed public works director in December, but he had been filling in as interim director for the previous six months. He was hired by the city as transportation manager in 2013. He has a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and a master's in public administration from Nova Southeastern University.

Recruiting and hiring has become more difficult, Mr. McIntyre said, for several reasons. One is the cost of living on the Peninsula. Another is that the city's reduction in pension benefits for new hires means that luring an experienced employee away from another public agency can be hard if the current employer has a better pension plan.

Mr. McIntyre said he is in the process of hiring a search firm to help fill the positions.

"Finance and public works are probably the two hardest positions to recruit for and find good talent," he said.

Council member Peter Ohtaki said Mr. Quirion will be missed. "I'm so sad he's leaving," he said. "He's a great guy," who has moved a lot of projects forward during his time with the city, Mr. Ohtaki said.

"I appreciate his contributions to Menlo Park while he's been here," he said.

As for Mr. McIntyre, he definitely will not be taking the month of August off.

His job now, Mr. McIntyre said, "is to get people on board - to keep the ship straight and running."

What is democracy worth to you?
Support local journalism.


Like this comment
Posted by Jim Long
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jul 29, 2015 at 1:09 pm

Nice career move for Mr. Quirion for sure, congrats to him. The pension issue is to be expected but a factor nonetheless. Eventually all municipalities will need to get real on the huge burden the unfunded pension liabilities are on our kids. At that point MP and SJ will look normal. Until then, the cities that deal with the problem earliest will have hiring issues. A necessary, albeit unfortunate, trade off.

2 people like this
Posted by Not a loss
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 29, 2015 at 1:53 pm

At least, at the Senior Management level, no big loss with Starla, Assistant City Manager, gone. After-all, Alex did hire an Assistant to the City Manager as well. Such a small city with such top heavy senior management.

3 people like this
Posted by henry fox
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jul 29, 2015 at 3:45 pm

Unfortunately The City Manager has said he would replace Starla--making sure that city management in our city contunes it's very top-heavy ways.

3 people like this
Posted by Not a loss
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 29, 2015 at 4:55 pm

Why don't we just get rid of the City Manager, and let the city run with an Assistant CM and an Assistant to the CM. Too bad the council has no guts. Why don't they ask how Alex got the headcount for the Assistant to the City Manager.

6 people like this
Posted by what's the real story?
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 29, 2015 at 5:39 pm

Is this just a coincidence of young folks finding growth opportunities or is this a case of rats departing a sinking ship?
A good manager can motivate employees, and doesn't rely on salary levels as the only way to attract and retain people.

How about some investigative reporting?

7 people like this
Posted by The Real Story
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 29, 2015 at 10:35 pm

From the inside the real story is the city manager is a joke. He has no business being the city manager in our beautiful city. 3rd top level exec in a week. Let's have a special council meeting and remove this jokester.

As far as investigative reporting goes - start with how much money has been wasted on consultants because the city manager isn't capabable of making the simplest of decisions. It's in excess of 500k and growing.

Also, look at staff surveys of his performance and working for the city. He should have been let go based on those results alone.

Like this comment
Posted by another perspective
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 29, 2015 at 11:20 pm

We are fortunate to have Alex. Finding and hiring top talent like Drew and Jesse is the most difficult job in the world. Retaining such talented people can be an impossible task in such a hot job market.

Like this comment
Posted by Uplifting
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jul 30, 2015 at 1:15 am

Alex knows what a normal city needs. He is moving the City of Menlo Park where it needs to be. Transparency and openness are key to the city's success!

5 people like this
Posted by Clarence
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jul 30, 2015 at 2:57 am

McIntyre sounds like a union shill when he whines that pension benefits aren't generous enough. He should be on the side of taxpayers. It makes me wonder if he is advocating for the unions behind closed doors. We've got to get rid of him ASAP.

2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 30, 2015 at 8:23 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Jesse - Thank you. You have served the city well.

4 people like this
Posted by Tunbridge Wells
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 30, 2015 at 8:27 am

Tunbridge Wells is a registered user.

Jesse Quirion has done a fantastic job and it's a real loss to Menlo Park. He'll be missed but I wish him the best of success in his new job.

Given the ridiculously high cost of housing around here, it shouldn't come as a surprise that people might look at real estate values elsewhere and decide to move.

5 people like this
Posted by LOOKING ON
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 1, 2015 at 3:19 pm

Those who have commented thus far, really have missed the big point. It is apparent that City Manager McIntyre is not a pleasant guy to work under. Not only are plenty of staff leaving, he has had disputes with Council Member Mueller, who was the only council person to have the guts to vote to fire him.

The City should be sued for McIntryre's refusal to deliver on documents requested in Public Record Acts requests. There is absolutely no doubt he violated the law, when he hired Malcolm Smith, with the objective of defeating Measure M.

It really is time for Menlo Park residents to wake up. Has Menlo Park turned turned into having a corrupt goverment, along the lines of Belle CA?

Like this comment
Posted by fully awake
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 1, 2015 at 7:40 pm

Anyone who have ever met Alex knows that he is very pleasant. More likely, senior staff don't want to stick around to get promoted, if it eventually puts then in line to be city manager. Alex has a very difficult job, Menlo Park can be a rough town.

We have never observed McIntrye in a dispute with Mueller. There was meeting where Mueller called Ohtaki and McIntrye tricky and possibly dishonest, but Mueller later apologized. Also, there has certainly never been a vote to fire McIntrye. Mueller did choose to make a protest vote, where he was clearly going to have no impact on the outcome, but he actually abstained. This was the contract the rest of council had agreed to in closed session. You could say that Mueller was ineffective at getting the contract he wanted, and abstained.

Finally, McIntrye is not a dictator. The city attorney if charged with releasing relevant documents for FOIA requests. It is not appropriate for city to sue the city manager because the city attorney is not able to produce documents that don't exist. If anyone can produce a document that was relevant but was withheld, please take your smoking gun to the DA.

1 person likes this
Posted by Don't sling Mud
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 2, 2015 at 11:49 am

Mueller definitely voted no on McIntyre's contract. But Mueller has never called anyone names like tricky or dishonest, nor has he been witnessed is a dispute with McIntyre. He once described a budgetary tactic as a trick to be avoided, and later apologized to Ohtaki when Ohtaki expressed offense.

Like this comment
Posted by Don't sling Mud
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 2, 2015 at 12:33 pm

This Almanac article below clearly sets forth the facts surrounding McIntyre's contract renewal.

Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by budgetary tactics
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 2, 2015 at 1:05 pm

User "Don't sling Mud" wrote that Mueller "described a budgetary tactic as a trick to be avoided."

Drew Corbett's last trick is to avoid working for the City of Menlo Park.

Like this comment
Posted by Don't sling Mud
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 2, 2015 at 1:37 pm

That's pretty unfair to Mr. Corbett to use snarky juxtaposition to put words and motives in his mouth. It's also factually incorrect.
Mr. Corbett neither proposed nor had anything to do with the budgetary tactic being discussed by Mueller and Ohtaki.
All the Councilmembers had nothing but praise for Mr. Corbett during the City Bidget hearings.

Mr. Corbett has indicated he enjoyed his time in Menlo Park and is leaving for more money and a bigger City.

The City Manager has said it a coincidence he is losing three members of his executive team at the same time.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Su Hong Palo Alto's last day of business will be Sept. 29
By Elena Kadvany | 12 comments | 4,313 views

Electric Buses: Challenges and Opportunities
By Sherry Listgarten | 22 comments | 2,675 views

Natural Wines?
By Laura Stec | 1 comment | 877 views

Premarital, Women Over 50 Do Get Married
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 832 views

Stay a part of their day
By Cheryl Bac | 0 comments | 465 views


Register now!

On Friday, October 11, join us at the Palo Alto Baylands for a 5K walk, 5K run, 10K run or half marathon! All proceeds benefit local nonprofits serving children and families.

More Info