Atascadero may have a new city manager sooner than expected

Administrative Services Director Rachelle Rickard has support of the city's executive management for the position

tstrickland@thetribunenews.comJune 7, 2013 

Wade McKinney

On the heels of Atascadero City Manager Wade McKinney's resignation Thursday, the city intimated it may fill the position by next week. Meanwhile city department heads signed a letter Friday backing an internal candidate to fill the job.

An item on the city manager position was added to the City Council’s Tuesday meeting in a last minute Friday amended closed session agenda titled “Public Employee Appointment. Title: City Manager.”

“Any and all options could be considered,” Mayor Tom O’Malley told The Tribune on Friday afternoon about the agenda item.

He would not say if the council planned to discuss filling the position or actually hiring one someone.

So far, no recruitment options for filling the position have been publicly discussed.

The city’s executive management wrote to the council Friday backing existing city Administrative Services Director Rachelle Rickard for the city manager position.

The letter says that Rickard’s “skills, knowledge and professionalism would make her an excellent city manager while providing a smooth transition and guarantee our success in keeping the team strong.”

The department heads also say that Rickard has demonstrated strong leadership in recent projects such as the restoration of the historical City Administration building, developing and implementing a financial strategy and leading Atascadero through the recession.

The letter is signed by Russ Thompson, public works director; Warren Frace, community development director; Kurt Stone, fire chief; Jerel Haley, police chief; and Marcia McClure Torgerson, assistant to the general manager and also the city clerk.

McKinney will take a city manager job in the Southern California resort town of Indian Wells.

On May 31, McKinney announced that he expected to resign when his contract was finalized by the Indian Wells City Council.

June 28 will be his last day with Atascadero, where he worked for nearly 16 years.

McKinney’s base salary in Indian Wells will be $195,000, according to his proposed five-year employment agreement there. His base salary in Atascadero is $157,173, according to city records.

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