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Woodside Town Manager Susan George announces plans to retire

Original post made on Jan 27, 2011

The proceedings of the Woodside Town Council meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 25, had an unusual start: The meeting began with Susan George, the town manager since 1992 and in her usual seat, announcing that she will be retiring in 12 months.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, January 27, 2011, 11:01 AM

Comments (15)

Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jan 27, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Susan George is a treasure to the Town of Woodside. Our town is so much better for her management and leadership!

Posted by Donald
a resident of another community
on Jan 27, 2011 at 8:23 pm

They better get that general plan passed quickly. The Complete Streets Act signed by Arnold takes effect in a couple of years and the old guard like Susan George will be incapable of making a plan that meets the State guidelines at that time. By passing one just before the new rules go into effect Woodside will buy itself a few more years of head-in-sand time before having to confront reality.

Posted by J Wood
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jun 29, 2011 at 9:26 pm

Wow...Susan George retires at last. Hopefully the politics will be gone from planning, and the town can come into the 20th century...(it will still take more to get to 21st) Her record on planning has been nothing short of a disaster, as thoroughly borne out by the many lawsuits and the grand jury findings. I welcome a new regime based on honesty, not back alley politics. She was a good bean counter perhaps, but I for one will not miss her version of the cloak & dagger.

Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jun 30, 2011 at 7:48 am

Yes, JWood, Woodside is a real mess, isn't it?

We have a balanced budget - a surplus, in fact. We have more than a full year of cash in reserves. Forget a "shortfall" in taxes... if no one paid a single penny of taxes for a year, we wouldn't skip a beat. Our pension liabilities are funded and under control. We have no debt whatsoever. ZERO. As far as I know, no other town, city, county in California can make that statement.

We have no scandals, no issues with our law enforcement coverage from the San Mateo County Sheriff's Department, and the one lawsuit that I am aware of that we are defending is clearly a nuisance and trivial. We have no ex-employee lawsuits or issues. Our officials always abide by the Brown Act, always permit public input, and perform all required deliberations in public.

Our Town Council has an excellent working relationship with the town staff, including with a very engaged and ethical town attorney and enjoys open and honest relations with citizens.

And, regarding the permitting process that you seem to think is so bad, less than a year ago, I submitted plans for a major home renovation and addition (which included a large accessory structure) to the town's building and planning department. My project was reviewed quickly and efficiently and approved. No complaints from me!

And all of this under Susan George's 25 year tenure.

Look around at your neighboring towns, JWood. One could do a lot worse.

Posted by Dave Boyce
Almanac staff writer
on Jun 30, 2011 at 11:02 am

Dave Boyce is a registered user.

Susan George came to Woodside in 1993. She has described her tenure there as covering about 18 years.

Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jun 30, 2011 at 11:30 am

Thank you, Mr. Boyce. Just wishful thinking on my part.

Posted by Thomas
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jun 30, 2011 at 8:48 pm

POGO...Not so sure your neighbor Mr. Jobs shares your enthusiasm for Woodside's building department or permitting process. While we are on opposite sides on this one, it's unfortunate Mr. Jobs did not have the empathy or foresight of Lurline Roth or Olive Holbrook Palmer.

Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jul 1, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Thomas -

I am intimately familiar with the Jackling "estate" and it was not only an eyesore, it was a hazard to the community.

The town APPROVED the demolition of Mr. Jobs' home quickly and efficiently. That decision was APPEALED by a small group of individuals, who's sole intention was to be a nuisance to Mr. Jobs' legitimate assertion of his private property rights. The woman leading the charge to "preserve" it had sold it for a tidy sum and moved into a South Beach condominium that, ironically, required the demolition of a truly historic building back in the 1950's. I guess that was okay for her because she wasn't there.

Mr. Jobs is arguably one of the most famous, creative and productive inventors and businessmen of our time. Any home that he builds will be historic.

But this thread is about Susan George. Her record of success is truly exemplary and I am thankful for her service to Woodside.

As I said, given the shambles and scandals in our neighboring communities, we could have done a lot worse.

Posted by Thomas
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jul 1, 2011 at 5:17 pm

POGO...I am familiar with your intimate knowledge. You keep referring to a small group of people as a nuisance when in fact the demo permit barely passed the town council by a 4-3 vote...hardly an overwhelming mandate and consensus for Mr. Jobs.

But getting back on topic, I do recall one particular Woodside council member that remarked about residents coming to council meetings and complaining about the town's overly strict building regulations only later to stand up and complain that the town is too lax when it comes to cutting down trees. As always, two sides to every issue on this forum with opinions that can sometimes change over time.

I really have no opinion about Ms. George, although I do know of other residents, including relatives living in Woodside that would not agree with you.

Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jul 1, 2011 at 5:27 pm

Thomas -

You said that you were "(n)ot so sure your neighbor Mr. Jobs shares your enthusiasm for Woodside's building department or permitting process."

Mr. Jobs permit to demolish his Woodside residence was approved by the town quickly and efficiently.

It was the APPEAL by a small group of historical preservationists - who, in my opinion had misplaced priorities - that dragged on his process for years, not the town.

I'll stand on my point.

With regard to your comment that some of Woodside's residents and relatives who would not endorse Ms. George's performance, it just proves that you can't please all the people all the time. Perhaps they should recruit the city managers from Atherton or Menlo Park to fill Ms. George's vacancy. I hear they are both available.

Posted by Thomas
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jul 1, 2011 at 9:37 pm

POGO: "We have a balanced budget - a surplus in fact. We have more than a full year in cash reserves. Forget a shortfall in taxes".

You might want to recheck your facts with Ms. George.

Susan George: "George said the town faces a $334,000 deficit in the new fiscal year without cuts".

"The town is expected to get rid of one of two daytime sheriff's office squad cars that patrol the town. While Woodside has one squad car that's fully funded, a second has been shared with Portola Valley, paid in part by a $200,000 in state grant funding. The state is no longer funding that program so the two towns are considering switching to a motorcycle unit which would be cheaper".

It would seem Woodside is experiencing the same problems as any other town at least according to the June 28th article in the San Jose Mercury News...."Budget Crunch in Woodside".

The article tends to also put a bit of a crunch on your idea of cost benefits to Atherton and Menlo Park if they were to outsource to the Sheriff's office.

Posted by Bill
a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge
on Jul 1, 2011 at 9:54 pm

Thomas, law enforcement salaries and pensions are too high statewide. Not even a town that outsources police services can escape that. But, Woodside would be financially worse off having its own police department like Atherton. Then Woodside would have to pay for overhead, chiefs, dispatch, records, etc. Outsourcing is definitely a cost savings.

Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jul 2, 2011 at 8:22 pm

Thomas -

Woodside HAS a balanced budget. It is next year that we do not.

As you noted, next year's shortfall is because Sacramento, who confiscated money from cities and towns as part of their 2008 budget balancing charade, has now taken away the supplemental funds that the town had previously received for police service from Sacramento.

Yes, the Town needs to figure out how to balance NEXT YEAR'S budget and I have every confidence that they will. Woodside does have more than a full year of cash in reserves and no debt.

I think most cities and towns would gladly trade the scope of their current budget woes with those faced by our little town.

But if you're truly unhappy with this performance, I hope you'll show up at the next Town Council meeting and voice your concerns and offer suggestions. I'm sure they will welcome your input courteously, as they do with all citizen input.

Posted by Interested
a resident of another community
on Jul 3, 2011 at 5:02 pm

Ms. George... I hope you read this.....

I spent almost two decades working with you on various issues. I have to say you were always steadfast in your desire to seek the best for the Town, but you were always fair. We disagreed on some things, but found so much common ground on many others.

You Ma'am will be missed.

Posted by Louise
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 3, 2011 at 6:15 pm

Can Atherton have her next??

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