Mayor's Message

September 9, 2021

Dear Vallejo Community Members,
The recruitment of a City Manager is by far one of the most important decisions a City Council will ever make. At this time, we are facing many challenges, challenges that are the nature of the times. All cities are having trouble recruiting qualified applicants for high-level positions that require a degree of expertise in their field. Before the pandemic, cities were highly aware of the "Silver Tsunami," or the high-rising, fast-approaching wave of retirees from the public sector.
The pandemic also brought about an additional yet minor wave of those who gave inward thought to their occupations, ultimately deciding to walk away from positions and retire early or start entirely new careers. The League of California Cities has also seen an uptick in the need to discuss council-city manager relations, as those relationships become more constrained, this is partly due to the additional stress placed on cities to continue operating, particularly in fiscally lean times. In Vallejo, we also have the added challenge of a highly active community. As a community, we need to focus on attacking the idea, project, or result instead of attacking the individual.
Any qualified candidate will do their due diligence in researching our City before deciding to apply. While we want to send the message that we are an involved community that keeps a close eye on our government officials, and any malfeasant or ill-intended individual need not apply, we also do not want to alarm qualified candidates to the point that they do not submit an application for consideration. We need a City Manager who will not be afraid to build trust through meaningful dialogue with the community, Council, and professional staff.
There is also a need to change our strategy for recruiting. I believe we must involve the community in this process to understand what type of City Manager best fits your needs. Our approach needs to be revisionist and collaborative. As we embark on this search for a new City Manager for Vallejo, I ask for your patience in this process. Likely, we will not be successful in finding and securing the most appropriate candidate for at least 12-16 months.
A pressing topic continuously brought to my attention are many complaints regarding litter along the tracks in Vallejo. Some individuals have taken it upon themselves to select track locations for dumping their unwanted items and trash. Many residents do not know that the rail companies hold more legal right-of-way rights than cities themselves, so the onus falls upon them to remove this unsightly debris and maintain their trackway, though they rarely do. Council and I have alerted the City Attorney's office to this growing nuisance. A resolution has risen with the Legislative body and California Governor regarding the requirement for a new methodology to attack this ever-increasing issue of track dumping. Movement by the Legislature will prompt these rail companies to step up and take care of their properties. Any support you can provide to our State and Federal legislators will greatly assist us in addressing these needed areas.
Thank you all who continually individually and collectively help improve the image of our city.
Your Mayor, Robert McConnell