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Rohnert Park City Manager Gonzalez leaving

By JEREMY HAY and MATT BROWN
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

In an unexpected development, Rohnert Park City Manager Gabe Gonzalez is leaving to take a post in Kansas after slightly more than three years with the city.

Gonzalez, whose departure comes roughly 6½ weeks before the opening of the $800 million Graton Resort & Casino, told Rohnert Park Mayor Pam Stafford on Thursday night he was resigning to take over as the city manager of Augusta, Kan., a city of about 9,300 people east of Wichita.

Gabe Gonzalez (PD FILE)

Gabe Gonzalez (PD FILE)

Gonzalez was not available for comment Saturday, but Stafford said Gonzalez wanted to be nearer to his daughter, who lives in Kansas.

“It’s a move for family,” she said. “He has been a real asset, and I think we are going to miss him.”

Councilman Jake Mackenzie said Gonzalez guided the city through tough financial times.

“As far as I’m concerned it’s a sad day,” said Mackenzie, who like his colleagues on the dais has credited Gonzalez with firmly steering Rohnert Park through a fiscal cliff that at one point had people saying the city was a candidate for municipal bankruptcy.

“He has done yeoman’s work; he has guided us through some very real fiscal crises and set us on a good direction for the future,” Mackenzie said.

When Gonzalez, whose salary was $165,000 a year, was hired in 2010, he was the city’s sixth city manager in five years. During his three years, he led the city to financial stability, Stafford said.

“He came in at a time when we knew that what we needed to do is get financial stability, and we’re well on our way to that,” she said. “He did a great job.”

Stafford said Gonzalez’s last day in his current job is Nov. 7, just two days after after the Graton Resort & Casino, Rohnert Park’s biggest project, is set to open.

Stafford said that Assistant City Manager Darrin Jenkins, who was promoted to his current position early this year, has experience dealing with the casino project and will be well-placed to handle any issues that may arise after the Nov. 5 opening.

Gonzalez, who begins work in Augusta on Nov. 15, will be paid a base salary of $100,000 a year in his new position, according to the City of Augusta’s website.

His departure follows the exit earlier this month of the city’s finance director, Cathy Orme. She left for a similar position in Larkspur.

(You can reach Staff Writer Jeremy Hay at 521-5212 or jeremy.hay@pressdemocrat.com and Staff Writer Matt Brown at 521-5206 or matt.brown@pressdemocrat.com.)





5 Responses to “Rohnert Park City Manager Gonzalez leaving”

  1. David says:

    If you don’t want to read the links Richard posted, at least read these 2 paragraphs:

    “[S]tate-sponsored casino gambling … parallels the separate and unequal life patterns in education, marriage, work, and play that increasingly divide America into haves and have-nots. Those in the upper ranks of the income distribution rarely, if ever, make it a weekly habit to gamble at the local casino. Those in the lower ranks of the income distribution often do. Those in the upper ranks rarely, if ever, contribute a large share of their income to the state’s take of casino revenues. Those in the lower ranks do.”

    Is this really OK? Are Americans content to allow the growth of an industry that consciously exploits the predictable weakness of the most vulnerable people? 27 states still say “no.” If yours is one such state, fight to keep it that way. If not, it’s never too late to find a better way. Read the full Institute for American Values study for yourself and see how much is, quite literally, at sake.

    Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  2. James Bennett says:

    You don’t suppose that a public official would recognize all the corruption and not want to be a part of it?

    Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  3. David says:

    There are rumors floating around that there are other reasons for the departure of Gabe. The PD might want to do some investigating instead of just reporting the RP press release.

    Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  4. Ricardo Sorentino says:

    RE: sick and tired – “Rohnert Park is in the process of metamorphosis …. What it will become only time will tell!!!”

    Here’s one perspective, posted on CNN. (Surly all the liberals here won’t give them a ‘thumbs down’ to what they posted regarding casinos!

    http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/24/opinion/frum-casinos-harm/index.html?hpt=hp_t4

    http://www.americanvalues.org/pdfs/Why-Casinos-Matter.pdf

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  5. sick and tired says:

    The Axe man cometh ……. The Axe man leaveth

    Like rats from a sinking ship ?

    The casino opens the 5th he resigns on the 7th

    ASM Jenkins was slated to take a job in Windsor as CM

    Now he is poised to take over as CM in Rohnert Park just as the Casino opens…..
    New trunk line being built for development….
    Old sewer ponds sell for new condos to be build next to a radio tower …..So if the noise from the Casino isn’t enough to cook your brains the antenna array should be more than adequate.

    All the while Measure A looms on the horizon seeking to keep your tax dollars local.

    What is next a sin tax to use the massage parlors on moratorium?

    Rohnert Park is in the process of metamorphosis ….

    What it will become only time will tell!!!

    Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

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