SANTA MARIA, Calif. - UPDATE: The City of Santa Maria announced on Wednesday that its city manager, Rick Haydon, will be retiring at the end of the year.
When Haydon first took the job back in 2011, things in Santa Maria weren't what they are today
"I dealt with some significant issues early on and it was my being familiar with the city operations and the players involved to be able to address those situations," Haydon says.
Some of this situations include issues like budget shortfalls and employee furloughs.
In total, Haydon oversees hundreds of employees across the city. "We have over 700 full time, part time and seasonal employees. We have close to a $200 million annual budget and so it is a large operation..it's one of the largest operations on the Central Coast from that perspective," Haydon explains.
Haydon says what he's done for the city's employees in black and blue gives him the most pride.
At his desk he's surrounded by photos of firefighters and police officers, reminders of what he says is his greatest accomplishment - Measure U, the quarter-cent sales tax increase.
"Passing the quarter cent sales tax was a huge accomplishment here in the city because the electorates had faith in the local government that we would do the right thing and that we ended up spending 90 percent of those funds to police and fire," Haydon says.
Leonard Champion, Chief of the Santa Maria Fire Department says the support from Haydon for public safety has been remarkable, telling us: "[Rick] is a visionary. He is somebody that puts his all into making our community better so from that standpoint, I can say Rick is somebody who is dedicated and is the consummate professional."
Through that dedication, Haydon says he's leaving Santa Maria now on a high note. "Right now it is a good time for me to step aside and to move on. The city is growing not only from a residential perspective but also from a commercial perspective," he explains.
Haydon's last day will be December 5th.
ORIGINAL STORY: The City of Santa Maria announced on Wednesday that its city manager, Rick Haydon, will be retiring at the end of the year.
Haydon was hired in 1996 and promoted to Santa Maria City Manager in 2011. He has led Santa Maria through some of the city's most tumultuous years--from city employee furloughs to highly publicized officer-involved shootings and police misbehavior.
Some of Haydon's noteworthy accomplishments include making significant progress in addressing public safety concerns, improving quality of life issues, successfully negotiating bringing the 14-screen Edwards Cinema into the Town Center East mall, negotiating the Enos Ranch development project, construction project of two new fire stations, and led a transition into a new state-of-the-art police department on Betteravia Road.
“Rick personifies the professional, dedicated civil servant,” Mayor Alice Patino said. “People look to Rick for leadership in many situations. His outstanding managerial skills extend from budgeting, to human resources, to negotiations. His eye for detail and his ability to lead and manage have certainly helped the Santa Maria community to many accomplishments. He leads by example, often gives credit to others, and through many challenges we all have been very fortunate to benefit from his advice and talent.”
“Over the last several years I’ve been fortunate to work for supportive City Councils and have been blessed to work alongside some pretty amazing and talented department heads and managers, so the City of Santa Maria should be in very good hands when I leave.” Haydon said.
Haydon's last day will be Tuesday, December 5, 2017.