Rick Haydon

Rick Haydon, City Manager

This time of year is a time for giving thanks, and I thought it only appropriate that I extend some words of thankfulness.

A sincere thank you goes out to the Santa Maria City Council, both current and former members, that bestowed upon me the privilege and honor to lead our fine city. This community has outstanding leaders, and your city government is an efficiently-run organization that is both resourceful and responsive to the needs of the community.

Our workforce, the men and women who provide you with municipal services on a daily basis, whether it is public safety services, utility services or recreational services, do the best job they can with the limited resources they have.

Your city employees are second to none. They proactively problem-solve on a daily basis, are resourceful, professional, and have an incredible work ethic. I am proud of what they are able to accomplish, and I’m thankful for having had the opportunity to work alongside many of them over the last 21 years. I thank them for all their hard work and dedicated public service.

I have also been very fortunate to work alongside some pretty talented individuals, quality public servants — the department heads who run the operations of our city. Having said that, we have some remarkable people leading our city. Your department heads’ mission has been to provide you with the best municipal services your tax dollars can afford, and they have consistently done that. They have made it a priority to run your local government with an entrepreneurial spirit and a business-like approach and I thank them for their unwavering support over the years.

Thomas Jefferson once said, “the government closest to the people serves the people best.” I would have to agree. I gravitated toward local government and was inspired by the ideal that local governments could make a difference in the lives of others, that we could improve the quality of life in neighborhoods, and I think we have done that here in Santa Maria.

But we have not done this alone. We have successfully collaborated with countless community partners on a number of projects and community endeavors. Local nonprofits, faith-based organizations, civic clubs, school districts, community volunteers, as well as other public sector agencies, have all played an integral role in helping shape the community, and I thank them for partnering with us on numerous community projects.

And while there are critics who will be quick to point out what we have or have not done, I firmly believe we are a better community now than what we were years ago because of these collaborative efforts. And one of the biggest collaborative efforts and successes has been the passage of Measure U, the quarter-cent sales and use-tax ballot measure passed in 2012.

Measure U was designed to enhance our public safety services, improve emergency medical response times and restore essential city services by allowing us to hire over two dozen public safety-related positions, mostly fire fighters and police officers.

I thank the community for your support of Measure U and for having faith in your city government that we would do what’s right with the funding — which we have.

I thank you for the opportunity to have served you as your city manager these last six years. It has truly been an honor and privilege and an experience I will always cherish. My hope is that I made a positive difference, and I wish you all nothing but the best. Godspeed.

Rick Haydon is Santa Maria city manager. He will retire on Dec. 5.