February Walnut Creek Mayor's Message
Jan 30, 2017 11:48AM
● By Elena Hutslar
Rich Carlston, Mayor of Walnut Creek
by Walnut Creek Mayor, Rich Carlston
As Loella Haskew mentioned in her final article, I am the mayor of Walnut Creek for this year and have the privilege of writing this monthly article. Initially, I would like to publicly acknowledge the outstanding job Loella did as mayor of Walnut Creek last year. She has left “big shoes to fill.” But, with the help of the entire council, we should be able to accomplish much this year.
Speaking of the entire council, ours is vibrant and diverse and should enable thoughtful discussions through different perspectives on the variety of topics to be addressed this year. While we were sorry to say good-bye to Bob Simmons, who served two terms on the council, we welcomed Kevin Wilk. Kevin has a substantial amount of community service as well as previous commission service in Walnut Creek. We look forward to his wisdom, energy and enthusiasm. To learn more about Kevin, as well as each of our council members, please go to www.walnut-creek.org/government/city-council. In addition to Kevin and me, Justin Wedel is our mayor pro tem, and Cindy Silva and Loella Haskew (both former mayors) round out the council.
Although Walnut Creek has its challenges, like other cities do, it is important to note it is repeatedly recognized on a national basis. For example, Liveability.com selected Walnut Creek as the 11th most livable city in the United States. What a legacy to our prior city councils, our city staff, our businesses, our non-profit organizations, our schools, our hospitals, our faith-based communities, and most importantly, our residents and visitors.
Principal among the challenges facing Walnut Creek this year is the challenge of replacing our former city manager, Ken Nordhoff. After years of public service, Ken decided to join the private business world. We greatly appreciate the service Ken provided to Walnut Creek and the legacy he has left and congratulate him on his new career. But, we are still left with the need to replace him. By unanimous vote, Fran Robustelli is our interim city manager and will be leading the city during this transition period.
To help us find our new city manager, we have engaged Bobbie Peckham, an experienced placement professional with extensive experience in locating qualified city managers. To aid in the selection, we are soliciting input from community leaders and our senior staff, as well as our commissions. As the process proceeds, we hope several highly qualified candidates are provided. The council will then interview each of these candidates with the expectation that one of them will stand out and be selected to be Walnut Creek’s next city manager. If none stands out, then we will repeat the process. As Mayor Schroder of Martinez knows, sometimes this process takes considerably longer than originally anticipated.
In the meantime, we continue working on several outstanding projects and issues. From specific plans, to the Heather Farm swim complex, to our open space, to housing issues, to building and permit improvements, to responding to Proposition 64, to revising our long-term financial forecasts, to managing our many and varied programs, along with many other matters, this next year will be robust and rewarding. So, stay tuned …