Bob Richardson is returning to Auburn, but don’t call it a comeback: He’s been in the area for years.
Richardson served as Auburn’s city manager from 2003 to 2014. He was heavily involved in volunteer efforts and the Streetscape project, bringing capital improvement projects like Central Square and restoring the State Theater.
He also helped the city through the recession and recruited Flyer’s Energy to come to the airport, a large sales tax generator, according to Mayor Matt Spokely.
Richardson returns from Grass Valley, where he has served as city manager since 2014. Richardson, available only via email, said he thought Auburn could “set the standard for small town success”.
“Although I’m grateful for the experience and growth Grass Valley provided me, Auburn is and always will be my home,” Richardson said, noting his daughters were raised here and are also putting down roots. “It is my belief the town is on the cusp of truly putting itself on the map. No longer will it be a gas stop, but a place people long to vacation, work, live, and retire.”
He said he believed Auburn’s community enthusiasm and talent could make that dream within reach. Richardson has worked as a city manager for over 25 years.
In Auburn, Richardson will make $180,000, plus benefits. For salary, that puts him on par with city managers of South Lake Tahoe, Rancho Cordova and Benicia, according to non-profit Transparent-California.com.
“All of us on the council are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Bob again. He did great work for our community for 11 years and we are grateful to have him back on our team,” Spokely said in a release.
The prior Auburn city manager made $161,938.11 with $8,312.12 in benefits in 2015, according to the non-profit.
Auburn embarked on a $25,000 search to find Richardson with the contractor Ralph Anderson & Associates. Richardson went through the standard interview process.
Spokely said at a chamber forum last week that two women were in the running, but were offered far more than Auburn did in the hiring process The city manager is the city’s top administrator, hiring employees, participating in negotiations, bringing reports to the council for policy decisions and other duties.
Richardson left Auburn in January of 2014 for Grass Valley, alluding to the larger city as a professional challenge with restructuring the city’s economy like he had with Lemon Grove in San Diego County. He was Grass Valley’s first city manager.
“I knew I had to rise to the challenge of making a professional change. That is where I stand today in Auburn,” Richardson wrote in his resignation letter.
Councilmember Bill Kirby worked with Richardson in Auburn and said he was often in the community.
“He was very energetic and did a lot of great projects in the community,” Kirby said. “Everyone knew him. He went to every event with his wife, Jennifer.”
That included marketing videos Richardson did with Harvey Roper and Monte Reynolds, promoting Auburn as a tourist destination. As part of Project Auburn, a series of volunteer events, Kirby said Richardson helped renovate 17 houses, like he’d done in Lemon Grove. Improvements also went to the State Theatre, Carnegie Library and Old Town Auburn across five Project Auburns, he said.
Keith Nesbitt, a former council member, said he thought employee relations were good under Richardson and appreciated his community involvement.
Top issues facing Richardson include the public safety merger, funding citizens’ wishes for road repair while increasing pension contributions and implementing a long-term economic plan in the works the past two years.
This article was originally published by the Auburn Journal
Source: Auburn hires city manager – Auburn Journal