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UPDATED: Santa Clarita city manager announces retirement

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Posted: August 27, 2012 7:10 p.m.
Updated: August 27, 2012 9:00 p.m.
Ken Pulskamp Ken Pulskamp
Ken Pulskamp

After 25 years working for the city of Santa Clarita, City Manager Ken Pulskamp tendered his resignation Monday, saying he wants to travel, hunt, fish and spend time with his family.

“It’s time to pass the baton,” Pulskamp said minutes after the city announced his resignation following 10 years as Santa Clarita city manager. The resignation will take effect at the end of the year.

“I want spent time pursuing my hobbies — golf, hunt and fish,” he said. “I want to do some traveling. I like traveling. And I want to spend time with my folks, with my family and my kids.”

With 35 years of public service experience in city management, the 56-year-old Pulskamp was asked about those times he’s heard other civic leaders cite “spending more time with their families” as a reason for leaving when the actual causes were less sanguine.

He laughed, then restated his position that his resignation is simply “the right time.”

It has nothing to do with city politics or any specific civic leader, he said.

The timing of his announcement — less than a week from the kickoff of the 2012 general election campaign — has nothing to do with politics, he said.

“And, I can’t take credit for Hurricane Isaac, either,” he said joking.

Pulskamp is the third prominent city employee to leave Santa Clarita since May.

On May 1, Planning Director Lisa Webber announced she was leaving Santa Clarita to become deputy director of planning for the city of Los Angeles.

On Aug. 1, the city of Santa Monica announced it had hired City Clerk Sarah Gorman to fill a position on its staff.
Pulskamp came to Santa Clarita in 1988 as the assistant city manager, assuming his current position in 2002.

“I feel I got accomplished what needed to be done,” he said.

“The things I am most proud of is watching the city being built,” he said. “We have, as a city, values that are humanistic — we’re efficient, non-bureaucratic, transparent, great customer service and safe. It’s a great place to raise a family.”

News of his resignation prompted accolades from council members throughout the day.

“It’s going to be interesting to find someone with the same work ethic and do what Ken has done over the past 25 years,” said city Councilwoman Marsha McLean. “His intelligence and ability to manage were outstanding.”
City Councilwoman Laurene Weste seconded the notion.

“He’s given us a legacy of excellence,” Weste said.

“He’s created a team of talented staff geared for the 21st century,” Weste said, adding that putting the right people and the right in place plan promises to make the transition to his successor easier.

“We are very, very blessed to have had this man,” she said.

Pulskamp has served the last 10 years as city manager for Santa Clarita.

City Councilman Bob Kellar recalled when he and Pulskamp rode horseback at an event during Frontier Days in 1988.

“He rode out and announced he was assistant city manager,” Kellar said.

“I believe he has done a phenomenal job,” he said. “Not just for the city, but the whole Santa Clarita Valley.”
Kellar called him “absolutely professional.”

City Councilman TimBen Boydston said: “He’s been here a long time ... I think he’s made a lot of correct decisions with respect to finances.”

About finding a replacement, he said: “With the economy being what it is, we won’t have to wait too long. We’ll probably have many applications from which to choose.”

Alan Ferdman, chairman of the Canyon Country Advisory Committee, called the resignation “a big surprise.”
“It’s going to mean big changes for the city,” he said. “The guy coming in will undoubtedly come with a management style that’s a little different.”




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