Interim leaders in San Mateo take on key roles

Come the middle of October, San Mateo will have two interim leaders in key positions after retirements that were announced within the past few months.

City Manager Susan Loftus announced she is retiring in November, and Community Development Director Lisa Grote left the position last week.

Larry Patterson, currently the San Mateo Department of Public Works director, will fill the role of city manager beginning Oct. 15, which gives him and Loftus a two-week overlap so she can show him the ropes. The two have already worked closely for the city for 13 years, and Loftus said she's confident in Patterson's abilities.

“I've had the opportunity to work with him closely, and I've found him to be intelligent, articulate, a strategic thinker and a great leader in his field,” she said.

The City Council appointed Patterson to the role recently in a 4-0 decision, with one member absent from the vote.

Mayor David Lim thinks Patterson's track record and experience with the city will help provide stability during the hiring period.

“We're excited to have Larry for stability and consistency. He knows the city very well, and he's been involved in a lot of major decisions,” Lim said.

While Patterson sits in, the city will undergo a roughly six-month search for a new city manager to take over for Loftus long term.

As community development manager, Rory Walsh recently took over for Grote, who had been with the city since 2010. She announced her retirement in July, and Walsh took over the post last week.

The official new community development manager will be appointed after Loftus' long-term replacement is selected.

“I think she'll do a very strong job,” Loftus said of Walsh. “She'll help us move forward and implement a number of projects. She's got a lot of experience locally.”

Walsh previously worked with the city as a zoning administrator and oversaw several large-scale projects. She left in 1999 to be community development director for Mill Valley in Marin County. She retired from there in 2008 and since then has been working as a development consultant throughout the Bay Area.

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