Woodside, Portola Valley councils bestow raises on town managers | May 15, 2019 | Almanac | Almanac Online |

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News - May 15, 2019

Woodside, Portola Valley councils bestow raises on town managers

by Rick Radin

Woodside and Portola Valley rewarded their town managers with raises in late March, with Woodside's Kevin Bryant receiving about a 3 percent bump to $218,000 annually and Jeremy Dennis of Portola Valley enjoying about a 6 percent annual increase, to $216,625.

Woodside city attorney Jean Savaree, who has represented the town since 2004, also received a raise from $276 to $286 per hour.

Bryant came to Woodside as assistant town manager in 2008, and took over the top job in 2011 when his predecessor, Susan George, retired. George had served for 18 years in that role.

Bryant formerly worked in Tiburon in Marin County, a community that he said has a lot in common with Woodside. Both towns were created about the same time in the mid-60s to prevent the encroachment of cities and suburbs on their rural environments.

The town manager sees his priorities as preserving the rural character of the town. "There are concerns that we're becoming less rural and more suburban in nature" he said. "The thing we're always talking about as a community comes back to that basic idea."

Dennis has been town manager in Portola Valley for three years after working for U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and state Assemblyman Rich Gordon, and then as city planning manager in Palo Alto.

Dennis said his role is to carry out the goals of the Town Council, and he encourages residents to pay him a visit if they want to express their concerns. "Even if we can't do what everyone wants, it's important that they feel they have been involved in the decision-making process, keeping things transparent and fair to everyone," he said.

Current priorities include preparing Portola Valley to be ready for a natural disaster, including fire, flooding and earthquakes. The town, he noted, is conscious of the growing danger of wildfires in rural areas.

"We're also sitting right on the San Andreas Fault, which I can see from my office window," he said.

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