Jim App, Paso Robles' city manager, to retire at year's end

Jim App
Jim App

Saying that it’s been an “honor to work on behalf of the people of Paso Robles these past 25 years,” City Manager Jim App announced Wednesday plans to retire effective Dec. 30.

“It has been said that one of life’s greatest gifts is the opportunity to work hard at work worth doing,” he noted in a news release.

App, 63, has worked the past 18 years as city manager and before that in positions including assistant city manager and personnel analyst. Before joining the city, he worked for a couple of years at Cal Poly Pomona.

The city will request proposals from search firms to find a successor, and then the City Council will decide how to proceed.

App said key issues for the city’s future include providing water reliability; addressing poverty and homelessness; managing development within the capacity of natural resources; generating sufficient revenues to pay for city services; and creating a tax base to support “vigorous public education” for the Paso Robles school district, Cuesta College and Cal Poly.

App said he doesn’t have any plans to work after his retirement but noted that he’s “open to whatever adventure life presents.”

He will receive a state pension through the CalPERS system based on the retirement formula that credits years of service, age and final compensation. His current annual salary is $194,000. He’ll be 64 when he retires.

Paso Robles Mayor Steven Martin said App helped the city through some of the toughest times it has seen in decades, including the recession.

“He has worked in very difficult times for the city through various councils,” Martin said. “He has done a good job, and his knowledge of the city will be hard to replace.”

Martin said the city has turned the corner with economic recovery but is now facing some change in staff leadership.

In addition to App’s departure at the end of the year, longtime Community Development Director Ed Gallagher retired in December. The city also is searching for a permanent public works director.

“We’re recovering slowly but steadily from the recession,” Martin said. “We’re supporting city services incrementally because we can’t do it all at once. And we’re transitioning staff-wise, especially now with having to fill the city manager position. … Jim has done a very professional thing by giving us plenty of time to work through a process to replace him.”