Atherton names new city manager | October 17, 2012 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


News - October 17, 2012

Atherton names new city manager

by Sandy Brundage

A tumultuous chapter in Atherton's history may be drawing to a close with the announcement that the council has finally agreed on a new city manager. The contract to hire 45-year-old George Rodericks, the former city manager in Belvedere in Marin County, goes before the council on Wednesday, Oct. 17. He'll be one of two new faces joining upper management.

Under the contract, Mr. Rodericks would be paid $160,000 a year along with a cellphone allowance of $100 a month. He would receive $2,500 monthly to help with living expenses until he relocates to Atherton or until June 30, 2013. That's on top of living rent-free in a home owned by the town on Watkins Avenue.

As for time off, the contract provides for 80 hours of vacation for the first two years, increasing in 40-hour increments up to 160 after seven years of service. Sick leave at eight hours per month, plus administrative leave of 40 hours per year, is also included. Retirement benefits fall under CalPERS.

Mr. Rodericks counts more than 20 years in municipal government, most recently serving for seven years as city manager in Belvedere. He resigned in June for personal reasons, according to the Pacific Sun. He received six months' pay after stepping down from the $182,700-a-year position. His background includes working as an assistant city manager, analyst, code enforcement officer and planner. Perhaps of immediate importance to Atherton, he oversaw construction of two town center projects.

"Coming from a similar town, with similar services and approaches, I know I can hit the ground running," Mr. Rodericks said in a press release issued Oct. 12. "Having attended several Council meetings as an observer, I am well aware of the major initiatives and of the Town's operations. Additionally, I have had the opportunity to interface with many of the Town's staff, so the transition should be quick and smooth."

According to the release, he holds a bachelor's degree in municipal management from Central State University in Oklahoma, a master's degree in public administration from Cal State-Long Beach, and a jurist doctorate from the Concord University School of Law.

Mr. Rodericks was selected from a pool of 100 candidates. "We took a bit longer to make a decision than was originally planned, but we believe we found the right candidate, with the right skills and the right fit for the Town," said Mayor Bill Widmer in the town's announcement. "We are confident George will be able to maintain the improvements the Town has experienced in both service quality and fiscal management. We are pleased with our selection and thankful for the fine job Interim City Manager Theresa DellaSanta has done for us these last nine months."

Ms. DellaSanta stepped in after John Danielson, also an interim city manager, left in January. The mayor, Ms. DellaSanta and Councilwoman Kathy McKeithen oversaw the search for a permanent replacement by Bob Murray & Associates.

The search firm narrowed the field of candidates from 58 to seven, and the ad-hoc committee then chose three, who were interviewed by the full council in July. The town opted to expand the search after the council failed to agree on a candidate.

New finance director

Joining Mr. Rodericks as a new employee is Atherton's new finance director, Robert Barron III. He arrives from the city of Millbrae, where he was financial services manager.

Mr. Barron, who began his Atherton job Oct. 9, has experience as an assistant city manager and finance director in the California cities of Huron and Coalinga, said Ms. DellaSanta, who appointed him.

Before his seven years of government service, he worked in the private sector as a senior assistant controller and senior accountant, she said. Mr. Barron has bachelor's degrees in finance and economics from the University of Notre Dame.

He succeeds interim finance director Debra Auker, who was hired in December.

Approximately 40 people applied for the permanent finance director job. The town narrowed the list to six, Ms. DellaSanta said, and in August, they were interviewed by a panel made up of Atherton Public Works Director Mike Kashiwagi, Interim Finance Director Debra Auker, and San Carlos Assistant City Manager Brian Moura. That panel chose three candidates to continue.

Ms. DellaSanta, Police Chief Ed Flint, and Mayor Widmer interviewed the top three candidates before the position was offered to Mr. Barron.

Renee Batti contributed to this report.