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Longtime Santa Maria employee named interim city manager as leaders begin search to fill permanent position

Alex Posada
(Photo courtesy of City of Santa Maria)

SANTA MARIA, Calif. – Longtime Santa Maria employee Alex Posada has been selected to serve as interim city manager as leaders begin their search for a permanent replacement for the position.

Posada has worked for the City of Santa Maria since 1978, and most recently has worked as the Recreation and Parks Director for the past 30 years.

"I think my goal in applying for the job was to be sure that we continue some continuity with the city government, the way that we have over the last few years," said Posada. "I'm really happy to work with the council that we have. They're a great group of people, so I'm just looking to take my skills and helping out for a little while."

The City Council is scheduled to officially approve Posada for the interim position at its regular meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 3.

“We are fortunate to have exceptional employees in the City who provide excellent service and are very pleased Alex offered to step up and serve as Interim City Manager to provide a smooth transition and a steady hand,” said Santa Maria Mayor Alice Patino said. “His knowledge of the City and Santa Maria community is a big plus and he will provide steady continuity as the City Council seeks the permanent city manager.”

Posada said he will not be a candidate for the permanent position and views his appointment as a guardian role until someone officially fills the vacancy.

"I knew the position was interim, that was something that appealed to me," said Posada. "In the 40-plus years that I've been here I think I have a little bit of a background that I can share with the city. I've think I've built some good relationships within the community that I can help with the city move forward. Certainly, if situations come up that have to be handled, then we will handle them. I'll be working with the other city department directors and with the council, so if we have to make a decision we'll make them quickly and prudently and trying to be sure that we're doing the best for the city."

A San Jose State and Cal Poly alum, Posada has been employed by the City of Santa Maria since 1978 and has worked in several different positions, including recreational specialist, recreation supervisor, facility manager, as well as his current position as Director of Recreation and Parks.

"We thought it would be a good fit," said Santa Maria Mayor Alice Patino. "He knows the city. He's been involved with the budget. He's been involved with every aspect of the city. It's really ideal to have him because he knows Santa Maria and he's been involved with different issues and every time we have something with land use or building, with floods, flood control, as he's all part of that, with the landscaping in Santa Maria and the landscape districts, and the water issues. He's all been a part of that and it doesn't seem like with Rec and Parks, but it is a part of that."

Once Posada assumes the interim city manager position, he will step away from his duties as Recreation and Parks Director. City leaders are expected to appoint an interim Recreation and Parks Director within the next couple of weeks.

"There is an option for me to return as Rec and Parks Director if that's something that I want to do," said Posada. "You know, I've been here a long time, so retirement is certainly an option also."

Posada will take over for Jason Stillwell, who announced his retirement last month. Stillwell has served as city manager since 2017 and will officially leave the position on Sept. 22.

"The City Council unfortunately received Jason’s resignation today from his position as City Manager," said Patino in a statement last month. "The entire City Council would like to thank Jason for his service and for all the City accomplished under his leadership. He and the staff kept the City on a steady course through the pandemic, economic uncertainty, and staffing challenges while maintaining quality services in the most efficient, cost-effective, and courteous manner possible."

According to a city release, the City of Santa Maria will select an executive recruitment firm to conduct a national recruitment for a permanent city manager. The process to fill the position is expected to take a few months.

"I think it will draw a lot of interest, and not just outside, but internal interest also," said Patino. "The city is in good shape right now. It's very stable. We are not in debt. We have weathered Covid. We have weathered downturns because we have saved money, so I think it's a good job and is appealing to someone that would want to come here to the Central Coast. The Central Coast itself is very appealing."

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Dave Alley

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