Jovan D. Grogan
Jovan D. Grogan

Come September, the city of Berkeley will finally be getting a new deputy city manager, officials announced Wednesday.

The position has been filled on an interim basis for more than a year, ever since the person who used to hold the role — Dee Williams-Ridley — took over for prior City Manager Christine Daniel when she left for Oakland in July 2015. It’s the second highest position in the city’s municipal leadership.

Jovan Grogan has now been appointed to the role. He is currently the deputy city manager of Concord, “where he has earned the respect of the City Council and staff for his work to improve city services and address budgetary challenges, as the City recovered from the recent recession,” according to a memo to the Berkeley City Council that Williams-Ridley sent out Tuesday.

Concord, which has a population of about 126,000 people, is the largest city in Contra Costa County.

Grogan is set to begin working for the city of Berkeley on Sept. 12. His annual salary will be $200,000.

Grogan has a background in municipal financial planning, along with “skills in labor relations, infrastructure management, performance measurement, and economic development,” wrote Williams-Ridley.

“Jovan is a gifted leader and we are eager to bring him to Berkeley. His strong background in finance and commitment to serving the community make him the perfect fit,” she said in a prepared statement.

Grogan said Wednesday he is excited about his new role.

“Berkeley is an amazing city,” he said. “As a native of the Bay Area, I cherish the opportunity to serve the citizens of Berkeley, and the partnership that I’ll have with the city manager and the council.”

Grogan oversaw an annual budget of $150 million in Concord as the city’s budget officer before he became the deputy city manager. He worked previously as a consultant for San Jose-based Management Partners, Inc., “to improve service delivery and resolve organizational challenges for local governments throughout the western United States,” according to Williams-Ridley’s memo.

Grogan serves on the board for the California Division of International City/County Management Association and is a member of the Municipal Management Association of Northern California and the National Forum for Black Public Administrators.

He got his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Cornell University in New York. He has a bachelor’s in urban and regional studies and a master’s in regional planning.

Grogan will take over the deputy city manager position from Berkeley Fire Chief Gil Dong, who has held it on an interim basis since July 2015. Dong has been splitting his time since January as both fire chief and interim deputy city manager, when Interim Fire Chief Avery Webb retired.

In recent years, many of the city’s department heads have left for positions outside the city. Grogan is one of the first new high-profile hires appointed by Williams-Ridley since she took over from former CM Christine Daniel in July 2015.

Noted Councilman Kriss Worthington at a city meeting in January, “We have new everybody in city management practically.”

A series of changes in city leadership

In March 2015, Jane Micallef, who ran the city’s Health, Housing and Community Services division, announced she would leave in May after 19 years of public service. She had run the division for seven years. The city later appointed Kelly Wallace to run the division on an interim basis. In January, the Berkeley City Council confirmed the appointment of Paul Buddenhagen as permanent director.

One week after Micallef’s news, the city announced that IT director Donna Lasala would be leaving Berkeley after 16 years, effective Aug. 4. No replacement was announced. (Update, Aug. 26: Savita Chaudhary is now the IT director.)

Berkeley Police Capt. Erik Upson left to become police chief in Benicia in April 2015. Upson had worked for the city for 17 years, his entire career to that point.

On June 2, 2015, City Manager Christine Daniel announced she would leave, after working for the city for 15 years, to serve as assistant city administrator in Oakland. Council appointed Williams-Ridley, who had been hired in January 2015, as interim city manager. She became the permanent city manager in March of this year after a unanimous Berkeley City Council vote..

Andrew Clough, Public Works director, retired abruptly in July. Phil Harrington became the department’s acting director. He was confirmed as director on a permanent basis in January.

In October, the city’s acting human resources director, David Abel, retired. He was replaced on an interim basis by Assistant City Attorney Sarah Reynoso.

In November, Berkeley also announced the hiring of former Albany City Manager Beth Pollard as interim library director after Jeff Scott left earlier in the year amid some degree of tension. (Update, Aug. 26: The acting director now is Sarah Dentan.)

Last year’s changes followed several significant transitions in 2014: the departures of longtime staffer William Rogers, who had been the deputy city manager, and Bob Hicks, the city’s finance director. Daniel reportedly took on Hicks’ job after his departure until March 2015, when she appointed Henry Oyekanmi as acting finance director.

See the full list of city department heads.

This story was updated after publication to include salary information for Grogan, and the list of department heads.

Berkeley planning chief to leave for Contra Costa County (02.25.16)
Interim city manager talks pensions, parks and perks (10.26.15)
Berkeley fire chief is now interim deputy city manager (07.28.15)
Another Berkeley department head to retire (07.22.15)
Op-ed: City manager’s departure is big blow to Berkeley (06.29.15)
Berkeley mayor nominates interim city manager (07.02.15)
City Manager Christine Daniel to leave Berkeley for Oakland (06.02.15)
Berkeley police captain to become Benicia chief (04.08.15)
Dee Williams-Ridley named Berkeley’s deputy city manager (01.09.15)
Berkeley Fire Chief retires after 27 years with many firsts (12.28.12)
Oakland’s Angstadt to be Berkeley’s new planning director

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Emilie Raguso (former senior editor, news) joined Berkeleyside in 2012 and covered politics, public safety and development until her departure in 2022. In 2017, Emilie was named Journalist of the Year...