Los Altos City Manager Doug Schmitz announced Thursday that he plans to retire in six months, a decision he said he reached after spending the summer “contemplating my personal desires at this point in my life.”
In a letter to Mayor Ron Packard and the city council, Schmitz said his resignation is effective March 31.
“Next month will mark the conclusion of my 30th year as a city manager,” said Schmitz, who came to Los Altos in 2007 after serving as city manager in Lake Oswego, Ore. “For me, it’s time to step aside. I am leaving a municipal organization that has an outstanding staff, is in excellent financial condition and has a plethora of long-range plans to implement in the years ahead.”
He cited several achievements during his time in Los Altos, from the adoption of bicycle, civic center and parks master plans to updated housing guidelines, new downtown design guidelines, a streetscape plan for Loyola Corners and an opportunity study for building in downtown parking plazas.
He noted numerous “projects and programs just completed or ready for implementation,” such as the impending completion of a renovated Rosita Park, rebuilt downtown intersections and a consolidated public safety communications system that benefits Los Altos, Mountain View and Palo Alto.
“These past four years have been personally fulfilling and professionally satisfying,” Schmitz said in his letter to council. “I believe that the major items which you assigned to me upon my assumption of office have been addressed.”
Those within the city who have worked with Schmitz said his leadership and efforts to collaborate among different departments have led to a better-run city. Among his most significant hires: Police Chief Tuck Younis and Finance Director Russ Morreale.
“Doug is one of those leaders that you read about but seldom encounter,” said Morreale. “He displays a quiet authority. … He will allow the staff around him to rise to the top.”
Before coming to Los Altos to succeed Phil Rose, Schmitz served 15 years as city manager in Lake Oswego, which had a population of 36,500. He also worked as city administrator in Carmel-by-the-Sea under then-Mayor Clint Eastwood.
“He has been exactly who the city needed to address the challenges and opportunities before us,” Mayor Ron Packard wrote in a statement. “His vision, creativity, communications skills and management expertise have truly transformed Los Altos. We wish him all the best in his well-earned retirement. Until that day comes, we are confident that Doug will continue to do his usual outstanding job, and anticipate a smooth transition to the next Los Altos city manager.”
Schmitz said he made his decision following the June adoption of a two-year budget and capital-improvement program for Los Altos.
In his resignation letter, he quoted Disraeli, who once said that a person in public life must “know himself and know his time. For me, it’s time to step aside.”