[UPDATED] City Manager Steve Mermell attended his final council meeting on Monday as the city’s chief executive.
Mermell will leave the city later this week, and Interim City Manager Cynthia Kurtz will take the helm.
“I would just like to say I consider myself incredibly fortunate to be hired by the city of Pasadena in 1989 and the opportunities provided to me,” Mermell said at the conclusion of Monday’s meeting. “I was able to work my way up and learn. Pasadena is one of the best cities in the state.”
Mermell said he has worked with a team that is second to none.
Councilmembers also praised Mermell.
“I have worked with Steve the longest,” said Steve Madison. “I have always known Steve to be an outstanding servant of the city of Pasadena. I am sorry to see him go. I think he has a long record of service he can be proud of.”
Mermell led the council in the pledge of allegiance on Monday.
“I want to thank him publicly for his steady hand being a city manager of a complex city like Pasadena is not easy,” said Vice Mayor Andy Wilson. “I have incredible respect for him.”
The City Council chose Mermell to lead the city out of the embezzlement scandal after former City Manager Michael Beck resigned to take a job at UCLA in 2016.
Mermell guided the city through coping with a budget deficit, several police controversies and the Coronavirus and balanced the budget for 10 straight years.
At the time he was hired the city’s website listed the starting base salary at $292,000 a year. Mermell currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two sons.
“Very grateful for your time with the city and you have been extremely responsive to the needs of my community members,” said Tyron Hampton. “I appreciate it.”
Pasadena has a Council-Manager government, which calls for the elected City Council to serve as the city’s primary legislative body and appoint a city manager to oversee day-to-day municipal operations, to draft a budget, and to implement and enforce the Council’s policy and legislative initiatives.
The City Manager oversees 14 of the city’s 16 departments, including the Police and Fire departments. The City Clerk, Mark Jomsky, and the City Attorney, Michele Beal Bagneris, answer directly to the City Council.
Mermell moved into the top position after working in a number of departments over 27 years.
“I have enjoyed working with you as City Manager and prior to that as Assistant City Manager,” said John Kennedy. “I have known of your work for well over 20 years. I think no tenure is perfect, but I think you have done an exceptional job for the city of Pasadena.”
“Thank you Steve for over 30 years of dedicated service to our city. I’ve been honored to get to work with you and get to know you over the last 10 months or so. Your professionalism, your expertise, your encyclopedic knowledge of our city, and humor will be missed,” said Jess Rivas.
District 2 Councilmember Felicia Williams said it was hard to see Mermell go.
“We have so much progress with the city being financially stable and we still have a lot to do, but you have set the path for us to get out of this,” said Felicia Williams. Williams said as she visits other cities she does not see city managers on Mermell’s level.
“Many people don’t know, but Steve is probably one of the top 5 city managers in California.”
Mermell formerly served as one of two Assistant City Managers.
Mermell has worked for the City of Pasadena since 1989. He began his career as an administrative analyst at Pasadena Water and Power. In the Finance Department, he served as Purchasing Administrator, Budget Administrator and Deputy Director of Finance before being promoted to Assistant City Manager, then in February, Interim City Manager.
Mayor Victor Gordo thanked Mermell for his service to the city.
“Your service to our city is going to be missed because of your ability to keep a clear mind and keep the issues front and center before the council regardless of the critique you receive or the staff receives,” Gordo said.