Mountain View Voice

News - June 3, 2011

New manager happy with 'dream job'

Daniel Rich leaves Campbell for a big challenge Mountain View

by Daniel DeBolt

The City Council has finally picked a new city manager, Daniel Rich, who will leave the top job at Campbell city hall for a new start in Mountain View on July 27, Mayor Jac Siegel announced on Friday.

Rich is a 47-year-old Palo Alto resident and has been Campbell's city manager for the last six years. Before that he worked in the larger city of Sunnyvale as assistant to the city manager for nine years and in the smaller city of Belmont as an assistant and interim city manager for four years. Siegel announced the selection of Rich on May 27.

"I'm actually quite happy in Campbell but Mountain View is really kind of my dream job," Rich said. "It is too good of an opportunity to not pursue it. I think it's a perfect size city." A population of 50,000 to 100,000 is the "sweet spot. It is not too big so that it is impersonal or bureaucratic and not too small so you don't have the resources to do anything."

Siegel believes that Campbell is in "great shape" financially largely because of Rich's leadership, noting that, under Rich, Campbell was one of the first cities to cut rising health care costs for new employees with a "two tier" system. Siegel also likened Rich's style to that of beloved former city manager Kevin Duggan, who had also worked as Campbell's city manager before coming to Mountain View. Siegel described Rich as low key, a strategic and technical thinker who "doesn't pick favorites" and is financially responsible.

With 19 years of city administration experience in the region, "he's a proven leader," Siegel said. "He has the ability to maintain a level of excellence in our services."

As part of the vetting process "we talked to a number of the council members down there (in Campbell) and staff as well," Siegel said. "He got very high remarks from everybody. He wouldn't come and interview with us until he told his council members he was going to do this. That just shows his character to me. He doesn't want to go behind anybody's back."

While he wouldn't say he is very familiar with Mountain View, Rich said he developed a relationship with the Mountain View city manager's office in the late 1990s when both Sunnyvale and Mountain View became involved in issues related to the closure of Moffett Field Naval Air Station. He says he greatly admires former city manager Kevin Duggan and considers him a role model for many city managers, an "icon" in the field.

Rich will be running a larger organization of 600 employees and seven City Council members, a step up from Campbell's 155 employees and five council members. Mountain View's city manager is responsible for drafting the city budget, setting council agendas, hiring employees, making recommendations to the City Council and the daily supervision of every city department.

Among the practices that Rich says he values and tries to instill in his staff include transparency, responsiveness to the public, being financially prudent and being a politically neutral professional. He says he has adopted a code of ethics that once kept him from donating $25 to a friend's political campaign in another state.

As a city manager you are "in a political environment, but you are not political," Rich said. "I still have relatives that ask me when I'm going to be mayor. I like being the adviser. I don't like being in the spotlight. I don't want to give a campaign speech. That's not me."

Before entering local government, Rich spent five years working in Washington, D.C. He was a legislative assistant to California Democratic Congressman Alan Cranston, a legislative assistant to Oklahoma Democratic Congressman James R. Jones and a research analyst for the Congressional budget office. It was an exciting time, but eventually became boring, Rich said.

He says he had the realization that there was a lack of management skills in Washington and his new goal would be to merge good management with politics. He says he had no idea that city management would be his career while in college. The idea occurred to him when he met a former city official while working as an administrative intern at a university.

Rich received a master's degree in public policy from Harvard in 1992 and a bachelor's degree in economics and political science from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1985.

Rich has lived in Palo Alto for 19 years. He is married to Abbie Dorosin and has a son and a daughter, 13-year-old Davis and 10-year-old Elana.

Siegel said the council negotiated a lower salary and fewer benefits for Rich than predecessor Duggan, who was with the city for 20 years before retiring in April. Rich will be paid $240,000 a year. A $400 a month car allowance is one of the benefits that won't be passed on to Rich, Siegel said. He also will not receive money to purchase a home in Mountain View, as Duggan received 20 years ago.

Rich was selected over 66 other applicants, and had made it into the top three in a round of interviews in early May. Siegel said there was a wide range of applicants, including some who lead larger cities.

Everyone wants to come to Mountain View," Siegel said.

E-mail Daniel DeBolt at ddebolt@mv-voice.com

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