I want to let you know that Bill Lindsay, our city manager for the last 13 years, has announced that he will be retiring at the end of this fiscal year in July of 2018. Bill told me that he is not leaving for another job; he just wants to have an opportunity to enjoy life for a while.
Lindsay came to Richmond in 2005, a year after a financial meltdown that caused the exit of both City Manager Isiah Turner and assistant City Manager Jay Cory. Leveron Bryant, the city manager’s chief of staff stepped up as acting city manager for several months until Phil Batchelor, for Contra Costa County administrator, was hired as interim city manager.
Batchelor then recruited Lindsay, who was city manager of Orinda, to take the job in Richmond in 2005. Lindsay began rebuilding Richmond’s management team, with Police Chief Chris Magnus being his highest profile hire. After pulling Richmond out of a financial crisis, Lindsay soon found the City impacted again by the Great Recession, with dwindling revenue, rampant home foreclosures and unemployment that went over 18 percent.
But Lindsay steered the city through the recession intact, rebuilding the Civic center, reducing crime, bringing new businesses to Richmond and improving Richmond’s reputation. His tenure spanned a seismic change in the City Council makeup that is testament to his ability to work with diverse political factions successfully. Using City reserves to keep critical services intact, especially law enforcement, during the recession cost the City lowered bond ratings and criticism from community malcontents and some City Council members that almost ended his job in 2015. But his contract was renewed until February 2020 on a split vote.
Lindsay will leaving Richmond at the top of his game, with the lowest unemployment rate in history, diminishing violent crime (no homicides in 2018!), a balanced budget, growing reserves and an upward trending reputation.
Following is Lindsay’s official announcement:
Mayor Butt and Members of the City Council:
As we discussed at last night’s City Council meeting, I am planning to resign as City Manager of the City of Richmond as of July 31, 2018. This was an extremely difficult decision, as the work in Richmond continues to be both challenging and rewarding, and, as I know you all agree, the City seems poised to turn its great potential into brilliant reality in the very near future. Helping to achieve this reality will, however, be the responsibility of my successor in this position, as I now focus on a different phase in my life.
During the next five months, there are many tasks that I still need to undertake , not the least of which is helping to complete the City’s fiscal year 2018-19 budget, and seeing that the current fiscal year ends with a strong balance sheet that will serve as the foundation for a strong financial future.
And while I have all of five months to thank those who have assisted me in my work in Richmond, I will start by acknowledging my wife, Meg, and my family for all of their support, and for tolerating the long work hours that took me outside my home far more than any of us would have liked.
I will also offer these limited thoughts and observations in this note, with more to come over the next few months:
· I am very grateful to the City Council that hired me to manage the City of Richmond in 2005, taking a chance on one whose experience in very different communities did not assure success in his new endeavor. Only Mayor Butt remains as a member of the City Council from this original group of nine councilmembers, and I hope that I have validated his part in my initial selection.
· I thank the individuals that joined the City Council over the years and worked with me, and, in particular, this current City Council. I believe that this group, because of their significant overlapping interests and values, has more potential to work together to achieve their shared community goals than any other with which I have worked in Richmond.
· I am extremely grateful to a very welcoming Richmond community, which has been incredibly supportive as I have spent thirteen years continuing to do my very best, but still, to this day, learning on the job. The unwavering belief in the future of Richmond by its residents is truly inspiring.
· I appreciate the expertise, dedication, and collegiality of the City‘s management team from whom I have received so much assistance.
· I will miss each day working with the staff members in the City Manager’s office, who have provided consummate professional support to me and to the broader Richmond community in an always engaging and motivating manner.
I look forward to working with all of you as I conclude my work in Richmond, and as you transition to your next city manager.
City of Richmond, California