Atascadero City Manager to Retire

Atascadero City Manager Rachelle Rickard is hanging up her hat after 26 years in local government. Rickard has announced her retirement, effective this July.

Rickard took her first job with Atascadero as an accountant in 1997. She led audit teams for 13 cities, 14 special districts, 21 school districts, and 26 non-profit agencies, according to the city.

Rickard was soon promoted to Administrative Services Director. In 2013, she was appointed City Manager.

The city summarized her many accomplishments this way:

In Rachelle’s role as the Administrative Services Director, she was the Project Manager for the rehabilitation of the Atascadero Historic City Hall, which was completed ahead of schedule and came in $9 million under budget. She introduced a Comprehensive Financial Plan, which allowed the City to build reserves that were critical during economic downturns. When Rickard started with the City, it had a deficit unreserved fund balance in the General Fund. In ten years, the City was able to build an $11 million General Fund reserve. Rickard also implemented Council Policies to bring the City from a “Going-Concern” audit note to financial stability.

Since becoming the City Manager, Rickard has set the foundation for and directed the implementation of significant Council directives, such as repairing over 42 miles of neighborhood roads in a six-year period and increased the overall Pavement Condition Index (PCI) by 8 points as part of the Atascadero Road Program/ F-14 Sales Tax Measure; established a branding, marketing, promotions and events program that includes popular events like the Tamale Festival, Dancing in the Streets, and Fall Festival; increased vibrancy and activity in the Downtown through investment and programs; streamlined processes to enhance economic development and stretch tax payer dollars; focused on transparency, accountability and community outreach events with programs such as “Talk on the Block,” and outreach campaigns for initiatives such as cannabis regulations, D-20 priorities, and the Downtown Infrastructure Enhancement Project; and secured much needed voter approved funding for police, fire, infrastructure and other critical City service needs (Measure D-20).

Rachelle Rickard was key in obtaining over $32 million of federal and state grants for the City of Atascadero. In addition, Rickard has facilitated projects such as the all-inclusive Joy Playground, the Colony Park Community Center, the Zoo Garden Event Center, the Thelma Vetter Red Panda Exhibit, the Lake Dredging Project, the Centennial Plaza and Bridge, Outdoor Pickleball Courts, The Plaza on El Camino and the Lewis Avenue Bridge.

Mayor Heather Moreno called Rickard “a tremendous asset to the City.”

“Rachelle will be terribly missed as City Manager, but her legacy of building an incredible City culture made up of a strong, capable team will continue to move Atascadero forward,” Moreno added.

The search for a new city manager will begin in the coming weeks.

Image Credit: City of Atascadero


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