Wednesday, July 31, 2013

San Mateo city manager announces retirement: Susan Loftus to leave in November after 25-year career with the city

San Mateo Daily Journal

San Mateo City Manager Susan Loftus announced her retirement in an email distributed to city staff last night.

A press release from her office was sent out at about 7:30 p.m. detailing the reasons for her retirement and listing her accomplishments over a more than 25-year career with the city.

“Serving as San Mateo’s city manager during the last five years has been both an honor and a challenge,” Loftus wrote in a statement.

She replaced Arne Croce as the city’s top boss when he retired in 2008 just as the economy started to tank, forcing the city to cut staff and drastically trim its budget.

Two temporary tax measures Loftus spearheaded, however, have helped reduce the city’s deficit and spared the need for additional layoffs the past couple of budget cycles.“

After accepting the city manager position in the summer of 2008, no one could have imagined the economic downturn which occurred. I am proud of the accomplishments of the City Council, executive team and organization during this time. With resident support of a temporary sales tax measure and combined with substantial budget restructuring, we have made significant progress in meeting our financial sustainability goals. I feel the timing is right to retire. I believe I am leaving the city in a good place to move forward,” Loftus wrote in the statement.

She was hired as San Mateo’s economic development manager in 1987 after working in the policy department of the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency.

She transferred to the City Manager’s Office in 1990.

In 1998, she pushed for the passage of Measure C, a hotel tax increase, that funded the construction of the city’s new police headquarters and the reconstruction of the city’s fire stations.

She is also a big proponent of shared services, entering into agreements with neighboring cities to consolidate some fire services.

She oversees a nearly $160 million budget and about 520 employees.

Loftus could not be reached for comment last night.

The announcement of Loftus’ retirement follows news that the city’s current Community Development Director Lisa Grote will retire in September.

The Planning Division also had two high-ranking employees, Lisa Ring and Stephen Scott, resign earlier this year. The city has hired some contract workers in the meantime to fill those positions.

The City Council recently approved an audit of the Community Development Department following the controversial 7-Eleven approval that has landed the city in court and for other issues as well.

Mayor David Lim pushed for the audit earlier this year after what he said were several “gaffes” made by the city even beyond the 7-Eleven issue.

He praised Loftus, however, as did councilmen Brandt Grotte and Jack Matthews in last night’s press release.

“The legacy of Susan Loftus is that she has left the city of San Mateo well poised for great things as we head into the 21st century. The City Council and residents of San Mateo are forever grateful for her service and wish her well in all future endeavors,” Lim wrote in a statement.

Her last day with the city will be Nov. 1.
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