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