The Pasadena City Council on Friday morning announced the selection of former Justice Miguel Márquez to serve as the City’s next city manager. Márquez will be formally introduced to the community during the City Council meeting on Monday, July 11.
Márquez currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer of Santa Clara County. He is responsible for all operations of the County, the largest in northern California, with nearly two million residents, 22,000 full-time employees, and an annual operating budget in excess of $11 billion.
Márquez was selected after an extensive search process, which included the recruitment of candidates, a review of candidate materials and select interviews with members of the City Council.
“On behalf of an enthusiastic Pasadena City Council, I am thrilled to welcome Miguel to our great city, and I am excited with the experience, compassion and connectiveness that he will bring as our new city manager,” said Pasadena Mayor Victor M. Gordo.
“Miguel has served the public and the greater good for decades in a variety of positions and, in his current role, has substantial executive experience in all aspects of government service, so many of which are similar to Pasadena. He understands our unique opportunities and challenges and his ability to connect with a range of people will have a profound impact. I have no doubt that he will be an exceptional leader of our employees, a caretaker of our city for our residents, a partner to the City Council and an impactful member of our community.”
Vice-Mayor Andy Wilson said Márquez “was our stand-out first choice given his impressive background, experience and personal journey.”
“We are thrilled that he has agreed to lead our City into the future,” Wilson said. “My colleagues are excited to welcome him to the amazing City of Pasadena and grateful for the terrific leadership interim City Manager Kurtz has provided these past months.”
Márquez said he is “honored and humbled to join the City of Pasadena,” which he called “one of the greatest cities in America,” to continue its positive momentum into a city of the future.
“My life’s journey and work have led me to this moment and opportunity,” Márquez said. “I look forward to learning about Pasadena, to engaging with and serving its residents, and to working alongside an exceptional staff. I am grateful to Mayor Gordo and the members of the City Council for their belief in me and my ability to bring about a shared vision of a just and inclusive community.”
Márquez has experience gained from overseeing the daily operations of the County, which serves a diverse urban and rural population. Márquez was responsible for operations including the County’s public health department, health and hospital system, public safety and justice systems, social services agency, parks and recreation, the Emergency Operations Center (including helping to lead the County’s pandemic response), the Office of Supportive Housing (working to create sustainable and affordable housing), and working with the community to address social justice issues.
Prior to his current role in Santa Clara, Márquez served as an associate justice of the California Sixth District Court of Appeal, as the county counsel for the County of Santa Clara, as the general counsel of the San Francisco Unified School District, and as a deputy city attorney in the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office. He began his public service career as a deputy county counsel in San Mateo County. He has also worked for two private law firms (Cooley Godward LLP and Remcho, Johansen & Purcell), and as a management consultant at KPMG Peat Marwick, where he was part of a national financial and organizational consulting practice.
He was the first Latino justice to be confirmed to the Sixth District Court of Appeals.
Márquez’s parents immigrated to the United States from México with only a limited amount of formal education.
Spanish was his first language as a child.
Early childhood education programs he attended inspired his commitment to public service.
The city has been searching for a new city manager since Steve Mermell retired in December.
One of Márquez’s first big decisions will be to select a new police chief.
Pasadena has a council-city manager type of government, which calls for the elected City Council to serve as the city’s primary legislative body and to appoint a city manager to oversee day-to-day municipal operations, draft a budget, implement and enforce the council’s policy and legislative initiatives, and oversee 14 of the 16 city departments.
All three of the elected mayors in modern times have led the City Council through the process of choosing a new City Manager.
Former mayors Bill Bogaard and Terry Tornek led the process to choose Michael Beck and Mermell respectively.
This city manager will oversee a public sector agency, public/private partnerships, and a full-service City with robust services with an approximate budget of $900 million and a dedicated and talented staff of approximately 2,000 employees and an engaged community of approximately 140,000.
Pasadena Now will have more information as this story develops.