Council Expected to Name Gene Rogers as Interim City Manager

Outgoing city manager Steve Pinkerton flees to Incline Village on April 25.

The first domino has now fallen.  It has been just about two months since Davis City Manager Steve Pinkerton agreed to terms with Incline Village to become their general manager.  He leaves the city on April 25.

The Vanguard had learned nearly two weeks ago that the city council had made their choice for Interim City Manager.  Finally, late on Wednesday, the city made the formal announcement that they plan to name Gene Rogers to head the city until a permanent position is filled.  He will be formally ratified at the city council meeting this coming Tuesday, April 15, and a week later the appointment would become effective.

Mr. Rogers has over 27 years of local government experience. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science from San Jose State University. He started his government career in the City of Sunnyvale, a city known for their leading high-tech companies and local government innovation. Rogers was with Sunnyvale for fifteen years, spending his last nine in an executive role.

Mr. Rogers then moved on to Moreno Valley and served as the Assistant City Manager and then City Manager. He led Moreno Valley from a fiscal crisis to solvency and eventual financial stability by implementing organizational efficiencies and developing new budget policies.

He developed funding plans and oversaw the construction of several public facilities during his tenure. In 2003, he led efforts to establish an electrical utility to serve a portion of the City.

In 2006, Mr. Rogers retired from Moreno Valley. Since then, he has served as a Management Consultant assisting public agencies on budgeting, finance and organizational efficiencies. In 2009, he served as Coachella’s Interim City Manager for eight months. Coachella, at the time, had serious budget issues.

He also served as Interim Resource Management Agency Director and then as Interim Assistant County Administrative Officer for Monterey County, organizing development efforts including planning, building, public works, economic development and job training in his roles.

He also consulted for Desert Arc, a non-profit organization, assisting with resolving their financial difficulties. His strengths include open communication, collaboration, team building, leadership and budget and financial management.

As we noted, Mr. Rogers is replacing outgoing City Manager Steve Pinkerton, who has accepted the General Manager position for the Incline Village General Improvement District. With Pinkerton’s last day being April 25, Rogers will begin his interim position on April 22. Rogers will not be applying for the permanent position.

“We appreciate the highly qualified applicants who interviewed for the interim position. The City Council is fortunate to have quality candidates to choose from, in light of Steve’s recent announcement that he is leaving Davis. As the Council-appointed Subcommittee leading the interim City Manager search, we are confident that Mr. Rogers will provide a steady hand for the City and the community as we progress with a thoughtful and thorough search for a long-term city manager,” said Councilmembers Rochelle Swanson and Lucas Frerichs.

According to the city’s release, “Rogers will be providing day-to-day management of the City until a new City Manager is hired and will not be applying for the permanent City Manager position. During his tenure he will use his proven abilities in budgeting, organizational analysis and team building skills to provide leadership for the City and the community.”

Gene Rogers takes over at a critical time.  In addition to Steve Pinkerton leaving the city of Davis after two and a half years as city manager, the council could end up with several new councilmembers.  The city is looking to plug a $5.1 million structural deficit.

The city faces a sales tax measure on the June ballot, two council seats are up at that time, and the city’s water rates are on the ballot as well.  Going forward, the city faces a potential parcel tax that would fund roads and other infrastructure needs, a potential business park and hotel conference center, and a land use vote on Nishi, as well as looking to create a Publicly Owned Utility.

Mr. Pinkerton was one of two finalists for the position of General Manager at Incline Village.

He was offered the position following a 4-1 vote by the Board of Trustees in the morning of January 29, 2014, and at that point entered into contract negotiations.

 “I’m looking forward to hopefully having successful contract negotiations and getting up here and getting started as soon as possible,” Mr. Pinkerton said after that Wednesday’s board meeting. “It has to be a contract we can all work out … for me to run the district effectively, there needs to be a good contract in place. I’m confident we can do that.”

“I am honored to be the preferred candidate for the General Manager position for IVGID.  We are now in the contract negotiation stage,” he told the Vanguard at that time.

He would add, “As I stated before, this is a unique opportunity.  I’m very happy in my current position.   I truly enjoy working with our City Council.  We’ve made many friends in Davis and the quality of life here is great.”

“I have enjoyed living and working in the dynamic environment of the Davis community over the past two and a half years. This is a highly educated, well-informed and involved university town, with an outstanding quality of life. Despite unrelenting budget challenges, I believe we have made significant inroads toward ensuring that residents can continue to enjoy a high quality of life. I know the City Council and city staff will continue to build on these efforts of the past few years,” said Mr. Pinkerton after the departure became official.

“Steve used his deep understanding of municipal management to implement a suite of major and highly challenging priorities of our council,” Mayor Krovoza remarked on Thursday.  “Our budget is as transparent and realistic as possible and our labor agreements have increased the prospect of long-term stability for our great employees and community services.”

The search for an interim city manager was a subject to a long debate, but ultimately the council decided to go external, which allows fresh eyes taking a free look at the city’s problems.  Because the interim will not have to curry favor, he has the opportunity to make some changes free of concerns about being hired down the line.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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  1. hpierce

    Just curious… do we know what the compensation will be for this interim CM/’caretaker’ [salary/benefits/etc.]? Does the CC have a 3 mo/ 6 mo, or other timeline to recruit and acquire the services of a long-term CM?

    1. hpierce

      And, I suspect that’s the most we can expect of an “interim”. He may have “fresh eyes”, and be able to discern the weaknesses [and ‘strengths’… I believe there are many] and articulate what those are, for the CC and future CM, but significant changes? Am thinking that significant changes are highly unlikely with a very “short-timer”.

        1. hpierce

          Can’t see where it would… comes in as a ‘lame duck’, but I’m hoping he will see the strengths and weaknesses, and will articulately share his observation(s) with the CC and the future CM.

  2. Barack Palin

    It looks like Mr. Rogers might lose outsourcing as a way to rein in costs. In today’s Our View in the Enterprise “The Democrats in the Assembly, on a straight party-line vote, approved House Resolution 29, which is an attack on the ability of local governments to outsource services. While HR 29 is nonbinding, it is likely that this resolution will be followed by legislation that prohibits any outsourcing that saves money.”

    Just more Democrat pandering to the unions at a cost to CA cities and counties.

    1. hpierce

      Hmmm… will Mr Rogers wear a sweater/cardigan?

      To main point I think Barack wanted to make, ‘out-sourcing’ should remain an option, but it isn’t a panacea, nor always a good idea. In my opinion, out-sourcing should be a tool in the toolbox, but don’t try to drive a screw with a hammer, nor drive a nail with a screwdriver. Might work, but could have unpleasant consequences.

        1. hpierce

          Hopefully, he’ll have the balance to identify what is going right, and what is going wrong, and articulate those in a meaningful way. That’s what “the neighborhood” needs, in my opinion.

    2. hpierce

      BTW, love your “handle”… lightning rod Democrat, lightning rod Republican. That’s why I am neither… and haven’t been for quite some time.

      1. Barack Palin

        Thanks, I’ve got a great picture to use if I could ever figure out how to post it. For some reason the site won’t upload it. Do I have to format it a certain way?

    3. Frankly

      Ef the state Democrat legislature for continuing to take this state down the Greek path. It is a corrupt group lead by the most corrupt of all. Darrel Steinberg is just one step away from being indited on racketeering charges.

      Absolute power corrupts absolutely. But it does so more effectively when we elect unethical clowns like those in our state legislature.

      I think fiscal conservatives should take a page out of the left’s Saul Alinskey playbook and start demonizing all the millionaire unionized public sector workers that are retired or near retirement and all their political cronies. There is major theft going on… taxpayers are having more and more of their hard earned dollars ripped off and given to their neighbors simply because their neighbor gives money to their union that gives money to their political tools. And young people are having more and more of their future prospects for a prosperous life destroyed. And it is all brought to us by the Democrat crooks in suits.

      1. Davis Progressive

        how does an article on the new city manager devolve into an attack on democrats and scurrilous charges against steinberg for racketeering. and nice spelling frankly “indictment”

        1. hpierce

          Duh, this is Davis, and one of the protocols on this site is, as I understand, we don’t pick on ‘dumb-thumbing’ or spelling errors, unless it changes context, or is really ‘funny’…

        2. Matt Williams

          My spelling has taken a serious turn for the worse ever since the operating system in my MacBook was upgraded to “correct” my typos. I’d love to turn that autocorrect feature off. Anyone know how.

  3. Davis Progressive

    so did things just get better or worse?

    i just have the sinking feeling that this city is going down the moment pinkerton leaves, and that’s not so much of a tribute to him as an INDICTMENT to all the other people who will rush to surface to fill the void.

    1. Rob White

      I think one key factor to remember is that all of the executive staff are still in place. Steve provides(d) great leadership and put competent people in places of greatest need. Some of those were already here (Kelly S., Zoe M., etc), some were brought on (Herb N., Yvonne Q., me [if I can so graciously count myself as one of these folks]), and some came back (Mike W.). Because none of us is the ICM – and I am to understand that currently none are applying for the permanent CM position – then we can just count on the executive crew and all of the mid-managers and staff to keep providing the best possible service within a constrained fiscal environment and the daily challenges. I realize some may disagree with my overbroad comment, but I am convinced that city staff are passionate about providing this community with the best possible outcomes. By and large, things are getting better inside city hall (and the other service centers), and I think the ICM (assuming the Council ratifies the position on April 15) will provide yet another opportunity for the community to move forward and find some solutions that will bring it into sustainability on all three fronts – fiscal, environmental and social.

      1. hpierce

        Rob… tend to agree with your post, and there are many other senior/executive staff, and many “main-line” employees who care deeply about the community and their contributions to it. Many dedicated/senior staff have been/will be ‘forced out’ by a combination of changing ground rules, and ‘demonization’.

        1. Matt Williams

          It was interesting to see the repeated comments by the Council candidates at the Chamber PAC forum on the subject of “demonization.” Clearly a concern about such demonization is one of the themes of this campaign.

    2. hpierce

      And… do you wish to indict people who haven’t even applied? It seems that no current City staff member wants the job (sign of intelligence). Guess there is more than one poster who may have an excess of venom in their system. Please continue to discharge your venom, so it doesn’t destroy you, and seek help, as may be appropriate.

    3. Mr. Toad

      The City Manager is only as good as the City Council he works for. The direction the city goes depends on who is elected to council. If you like the job the City Manager has done vote for Rochelle because she has been the biggest swing vote on the council and that is why I support her.

      1. Matt Williams

        Toad, there are lots of good reasons to vote for Rochelle, and most of those reasons do not “swing” this way and that, which is one implication of your description of her. If there have been any swing votes on this Council, they usually have had one of the male Council members playing that role.

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