City Manager Kelly leaving
City Manager Linda Kelly is leaving Sonoma to accept the position of town manager of Windsor, effective Dec. 13.
Kelly has served as the city manager of Sonoma since January 2008, and has worked with the City Council and staff in managing through the recession, the dissolution of the city’s redevelopment agency and the budget challenges that have impacted the Sonoma economy.
Kelly, reached by phone Wednesday night, said her decision had nothing to do with job satisfaction in Sonoma.
“I’m very happy in Sonoma,” she said. “It’s not so much a case of wanting to leave Sonoma, as being just a great opportunity for me. The two towns have a lot of similarities. They’re both very dynamic communities. Windsor has a downtown Plaza and they’re working to enhance the business climate. They’re bigger, of course, about 27,000, with a more diverse population.”
In an emailed press release Kelly said, “I am so proud of this community in how we have come together to face the recession and the loss of redevelopment funding. The passage of the Measure J local sales tax and the creation of the Sonoma Tourism Improvement District show commitment to finding locally based solutions to our economic challenges. These measures represent the foundation for a stable future for Sonoma.”
Kelly added, “I have appreciated the strong support of the City Council and the talented and dedicated staff of the city. Together, I feel we have strengthened the organization and our ability to implement community priorities such as public safety and infrastructure.”
Kelly explained that the opportunity to apply for the Windsor job came up when longtime Town Manager Matt Mullan announced his retirement. Like Sonoma, Windsor has a five-person City Council, with a rotating mayor and a fulltime town manager.
Kelly said she will assume her new job in mid-December in order to have some overlap with Mullan, who leaves at the end of the year.
Looking back on her nearly five years in Sonoma, she said what she’ll miss the most is “the people. The staff have been wonderful. People just love this community.”
The downside of Sonoma? “We’ve had our challenges in the last couple of years,” Kelly acknowledged. “But it’s been a lot of fun. I think the City Council has been very proactive. We’ve been through things the city hasn’t seen in years.”
Sonoma Mayor Joanne Sanders said of Kelly’s departure, “Linda has done a great job managing us through tough times. We understand this is a positive opportunity to further her career. Selfishly, I wish it wasn’t happening at the same time as my term is ending. We wish her well, know she will be a tremendous success, and Windsor is lucky to have her.”
Mayor Pro Tem Ken Brownadded, “Having served on the City Council for 14 years, I have experienced all the gifts Linda brings to her job. She is a caring and dedicated civil servant in the best possible sense.”
Brown said it’s been a pleasure to work with Kelly.
“Sonoma has been fortunate to have Linda as its city manager,” he said.
The Sonoma City Council will meet in closed session on Wednesday, Nov. 14, to discuss the transition and appointment of a new city manager.