Berkeley City Manager Phil Kamlarz: grateful to city employees for making cuts. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel

Phil Kamlarz, Berkeley’s City Manager for the past eight years, today announced his retirement. His last day on the job will be November 30th. Kamlarz has served the city for 36 years.

“He’s been an absolutely remarkable city manager,” said Mayor Tom Bates. “He’s the longest serving city manager in the city’s history.”

Bates said he would recommend the appointment of Deputy City Manager Christine Daniel as interim city manager, with an evaluation after six months for the permanent role. This was the process used when Kamlarz was first appointed. According to a senior city employee, it has been clear for a while that Daniel was being groomed as Kamlarz’s successor.

“In over 36 years of public service, the last eight as City Manager, I’ve come to believe that Berkeley is truly a unique city that is willing to take on any challenge,” Kamlarz wrote in his resignation letter to the mayor and City Council. “There are so many firsts that I’ve had the opportunity to be part of. Few city managers can say that.”

“Phil has been involved in so many efforts to make Berkeley a cutting edge city in the US,” Bates said. “He’s a great partner and he’s going to be missed.”

Kamlarz has steered the city through particularly difficult economic conditions, preserving Berkeley’s AA+ bond rating — “the best bond rating of any city our size,” commented Bates. He also led negotiations in the last year with city workers on savings to alleviate Berkeley’s looming budget deficit. Kamlarz has received criticism as one of the city’s highest paid employees in a time of cutbacks, with a gross salary of $240,759 in 2010. City leaders have consistently pointed to Berkeley’s superior financial rating and the scale of the job in defending the salary.

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Lance Knobel (Berkeleyside co-founder) has been a journalist for nearly 40 years. Much of his career was in business journalism. He was editor-in-chief of both Management Today, the leading business magazine...