News - November 9, 2011

Woodside picks Bryant as town manager

by Dave Boyce

Kevin A. Bryant, currently the assistant town manager for the town of Woodside, beat out 94 other candidates and will take over as town manager on Jan. 14

He was chosen by a unanimous vote of the seven-member Town Council at a special meeting Nov. 3.

Susan George, the town manager since 1993, announced in January that she would be stepping down in January 2012. Recruiter Bobbi C. Peckham of Sacramento has been working since March to find a replacement.

"My colleagues on the council and I have devoted significant energy and time over the course of the last few months to ensure that we selected the best candidate to serve as the next town manager," Mayor Ron Romines said in a statement.

"Kevin's understanding about what it takes to manage the town, his enthusiasm about tackling the challenges that face the town, his proven capabilities, and his many already established working relationships distinguished him from his competitors," Mr. Romines continued. "We look forward to many successful and productive years of working with Kevin as he moves into the top spot."

How had Mr. Bryant made his interest known? "Anyone who asked me, I told them that I would be a candidate for the position," he said in a phone interview. "The recruiter didn't need to reach out to me. I was ready to throw my hat into the ring from the beginning."

Mr. Bryant said he had one interview with the recruiter, one with the senior management team in Town Hall, and two with the full Town Council.

His base salary will be $195,000 a year. He will receive the same retirement, personal leave, holiday and health insurance benefits as all town employees plus $300 per month mileage reimbursement and 100 hours of administrative leave per year. Administrative leave compensates the seven senior-level exempt employees in Town Hall who are not paid for overtime.

Mr. Bryant said he will not be hiring a replacement as assistant town manager, but he plans to hire someone with similar skills.

The search

Ms. Peckham, the recruiter, had said her search for town manager candidates would start on the Peninsula followed by the East Bay, Marin County and Santa Clara County. "There is a certain culture in the Bay Area that I'm not going to find in Southern California," she said. "I think what's really critical is to start right here in this county."

She did not have to go far. Mr. Bryant lives in San Carlos with his wife and two daughters, one in elementary school and one in preschool.

He came to Woodside in February 2008 from Sausalito, where he was the assistant to the city manager, he said in a bio he provided. His experience previous to that was as an "advance planner" for the town of Tiburon and as a planning associate for the city of Alameda.

Mr. Bryant grew up in Warren, Maine, graduated from Medomak Valley High School in Waldoboro, Maine, and has a bachelor's degree in political science (1993) from the University of Southern Maine and a master's degree in regional planning (1998) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he said.

In his spare time, he said, he enjoys spending time with his daughters and reading from the "backlog of good books I have stacked on my bookshelf."

Change? No change?

Few would argue that Ms. George's will be a hard act to follow.

In March, Ms. Peckham, the recruiter, asked a small group of residents to name a few problems that might not have been addressed over the 18 years of Ms. George's administration. The response was 15 or 20 seconds of silence until one resident said, "Nobody's perfect."

Does Mr. Bryant have changes in mind? "I do, but part of the reason that this job was very attractive is that Woodside was being well managed and is being well managed," he said.

Changes will be incremental and will probably be aimed at improving ways to provide residents with information and ease the process of applying for permits, he said.


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