Atascadero's public works director is leaving job for Bay Area

Russ Thompson
Russ Thompson Courtesy photo

The city of Atascadero’s public works director is leaving his post this month for a larger city in Northern California to be closer to family.

Russ Thompson, who has led Atascadero’s public works department since 2009, has accepted a director position for the city of Novato’s public works department in Marin County, according to a statement.

Thompson and his wife, Michelle, plan to relocate to Sonoma County to be close to their daughter and son-in-law who are expecting a child in November, the statement said.

Overseeing 32 employees in Atascadero, Thompson earned a $123,000 annual salary, excluding benefits, to oversee projects in the city’s engineering, transit administration and sewer system operations. He’s been involved in the reconstruction of the historic administration building, a new permitting process, numerous construction projects and wastewater improvements.

“He’s demonstrated real leadership and has helped to develop a real sense of cooperation and collaboration within his department,” City Manager Rachelle Rickard said in the statement.

In Novato, a city about double the size of Atascadero, Thompson will be managing a department of 54 employees that includes geographic information systems, engineering and maintenance divisions for a population of more than 60,000 people, the statement says.

He plans to leave Atascadero at the end of June.

Previous to his position with the city, Thompson owned a local consulting civil engineering firm in Atascadero for 10 years.

Atascadero is currently looking to fill Thompson’s position and plans to advertise the position locally as well as with the American Public Works Association, according to the city.