This has been a most active 12 months for the leadership here in Foster City. The activity has centered on the promotion/retirement of leadership in five key departments. In many cities whenever there is that much turnover, the citizens start to get nervous, wondering “who is in charge?” That problem has rarely surfaced here in Foster City. A good example starts at the top with our City Manager, the Chief Operating Officer of Foster City. Since the appointment of Rick Wykoff in 1977, there has only been one other City Manager, Jim Hardy, who has been the City Manager for 18 years. Between those stalwarts of the administration, they represent 35 years at the helm. I doubt many cities in the country could boast of that much stability.
Back in November our Assistant City Manager, Kristi Chappelle, retired. Kristi had been with Foster City for 29 years and was a cornerstone of the organization, but stepping right in without missing a beat was former Finance Director, Steve Toler. When Steve was promoted to the Assistant City Manager position, up stepped Lin- Lin Cheng, formerly Deputy Finance Director, taking over as Finance Director. Those moves, including a few others, represented the wisdom and forethought of our City leaders, getting someone ready to take over when one is needed. In December 2011, long time Community Development Director, Rick Marks retired. Again, a most suitable replacement was waiting to take over. Curtis Banks was Rick’s Planning Manager and has assumed the reins of Director with valor.
Next we had the retirement of Fire Chief Dan Belville in July 2012. Although we shared him with San Mateo, Dan was a most visible part of our community. We wish him well, and again, someone was right there to take over the Fire Department. We had Mike Keefe, Deputy Fire Chief, ready to take over as Chief of the Foster City/San Mateo Fire Department. Again, not a misstep was to be found.
This past week we celebrated the retirement of Police Chief Craig Courtin, a member of the Foster City Police Department for over 28 years. Chief Courtin, knowing he would retire eventually, put into place a system which enabled those below him to be trained and ready to assume more responsibility when he eventually would retire. Ready to take over as a most able new chief was Captain Matt Martell who was sworn in as Foster City’s Police Chief on October 9th. Of course, when there is movement at the top of the ladder then there are a lot of opportunities for officers to move up another rung. With Matt Martell’s ascension to Chief then Lieutenant Joe Pierucci was promoted to Captain. With Pierucci’s promotion, Martin Ticas was promoted to Lieutenant, Mark Lee to Sergeant, Brian Tidwell to Corporal and Drew Miller was hired as a new Police Officer. Congratulations to all of you on your promotions.
Finally, we will be losing our Public Works Director, Ray Towne. He will be retiring in December 2012 and already a movement is in place to find someone who will assume Ray’s role.
The purpose of this brief article is two-fold. First, I wanted to inform all of you of the changes in the respective City departments. Sometimes those types of moves aren’t readily apparent.
But the main reason I wanted to let you know of these promotions/retirements was to have all of you know how well prepared we are here in Foster City. None of these changes was a surprise. None of these changes came out of the blue. And none of these changes came with any negative undertones.
We knew that these individuals would be leaving, we just didn’t exactly know of the departure dates. But we had someone in the wings who was trained and ready to take over the department. That is further evidence of something I have said all along – that Foster City is one of the best planned and managed Cities in the state. I, for one, am proud of being a Foster City resident and I hope you are, too.
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