Paul Casey Stepping Down as Santa Barbara City Administrator

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Source: City of Santa Barbara

After twenty-four years of service to the City of Santa Barbara, City Administrator Paul Casey officially notified the Santa Barbara City Council earlier today of his intent to step down as City Administrator effective Friday September 10, 2021.

“It has been an honor and privilege to serve the City of Santa Barbara and community.  I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished during this time working on a number of high priority issues while facing unprecedented challenges” said Mr. Casey. 

Some of those accomplishments include:

  • Passage and implementation of Measure C to address critical infrastructure deficiencies like street and road repairs, design of a new Police Station, and rehabilitation of key City facilities like the Cabrillo Pavilion;

  • Managing the City’s water resources effectively through a historic drought, including restarting the City’s desalination plant;

  • The City’s rapid response to massive fires and a devastating debris flow; and

  • The City’s response to the global Covid-19 pandemic including: maintaining critical services throughout; addressing unprecedented fiscal ramifications; and assisting the local economy, and community psyche, by creating the State Street Promenade which has been a resounding success.

In his letter to the City Council, Mr. Casey stated: “You have amazing City staff that it has be an honor to work beside.  They will continue to do the City and community proud by their dedication and professionalism going forward.  I wish you and the City all the best!” 

Mayor Cathy Murillo stated, “I thank Paul Casey for his years of dedicated service to the City of Santa Barbara.  In addition to his excellent daily management of our full-service City, Paul consistently rose to the challenges we faced, from natural disasters to the pandemic, working round-the-clock to ensure everyone’s health, safety, and recovery. I congratulate him on the contribution he’s made to the City and wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

The Santa Barbara City Council will identify the process to choose the next City Administrator over the coming weeks, and will appoint an Interim City Administrator by September 10th.

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Byzantium Jul 18, 2021 09:08 AM
Paul Casey Stepping Down as Santa Barbara City Administrator

City's primary error was offering "defined-benefit" city employee pensions, instead of "defined-contribution" pensions- 401K type pensions. Defined-benefit pensions are eating our city budget alive, which is why only new taxes will provide necessary city infrastructure maintenance since every year mandated contributions to city pensions funds must be made for promises made decades ago to retired workers which continue to rise. This is your "progressive" city council working on your behalf. Can't undo promises made in the past, and no later city council ever had the courage to deal with this budget sink hole. However, it must be put on the table and city councils must stop lying about the need for more increasing taxes to cover this growing city employee pension debt. Currently, we are held hostage - pass new taxes endlessly, or the city will rot because city discretionary money is now overly committed to funding city employee pensions. This is the ongoing CalPERS pension fund over-promise and under-performance saga happening right here in our own city. An over-staffed city employee structure, over- benefited, over-paid, and every other Friday off on top of multiple paid days off is a super-structure that is serving us very badly. Now you know what voting for "progressive" government officials really looks like - long term.

The Streak Jul 18, 2021 06:52 AM
Paul Casey Stepping Down as Santa Barbara City Administrator

SEIU gets my vote for creating, amplifying and promoting the dysfunction in our city government. (Oh, and human nature gets a strong second place vote.) The lack of courage by those who seek leadership roles in your municipal governance is directly pinned to how they get elected and with whom they have had to form financial alliances to do so. I say allow every bona fide candidate no more than $5,000 plus free TV ads—for two weeks!—and let the Council be elected citywide. No labor (or public safety) union endorsement seeking, no soft focus “I’m your guy/gal” TV spots running for months.

Someone else said it best re Paul Casey—Good man, impossible job.

Randy Parks Jul 18, 2021 09:16 PM
Paul Casey Stepping Down as Santa Barbara City Administrator

HE HAD TO GO (see article below) From article: "Tomaszewski also specifically implicated City Administrator Paul Casey for allegedly having full knowledge of Samario’s actions and allowing him to retire..." --- When former finance director Robert Samario suddenly and quietly retired last March after an undisclosed four-month investigation ― walking away with his full $120,000 annual pension and a fond farewell from the city administrator ― it raised a lot of questions and a lot of eyebrows.

<><> https://www.independent.com/2021/06/08/sexual-harassment-by-former-finance-director-was-badly-kept-secret-lawsuit-alleges/

SBSand Jul 17, 2021 06:21 AM
Paul Casey Stepping Down as Santa Barbara City Administrator

I don't know him or have an opinion on him but when I saw he was resigning it gave me a positive feeling. Our city needs to be revitalized and hopefully we will see a complete shift in our local leadership. I DO have an opinion about Cathy, she has to go! We need people who LOVE SB in these posts, people that care about the community itself and not just the tourism industry. We need people that remember downtown and Picaddily Square would be a bonus, back in the days when we had pony rides by the beach and Golf & Stuff and other FAMILY friendly things. We need leaders that want to work on the whole problem from the bottom up and not just focused on visitors.

a-1626507551 Jul 17, 2021 12:39 AM
Paul Casey Stepping Down as Santa Barbara City Administrator

Byz, yes, it's somewhat a bad outcome.
But I among many voted for Measure C.
And I support the upper State St. motel usage, and it's in my neighborhood.
I among many believe that we should be taxed for the good of our communities.

Yes, I get your rage over how it's spent. Many streets around me have been repaved. I'd rather that be done in areas that need it more.

Let's continue to band together and lobby our representatives for what we need.

But do you really want to investigate "why voters agreed to hand this city council a blank check."?! Why? How? Are you questioning the vote outcome? How would you investigate this?!
(Reference, re: Measure C: " So there is nothing to investigate except why voters agreed to hand this city council a blank check." post from 7/16 4:02 p.m.)

a-1626508288 Jul 17, 2021 12:51 AM
Paul Casey Stepping Down as Santa Barbara City Administrator

The post in question:
"Measure C is being spent as general fund money at the discretion of city council members; just as it was presented to the voters. If you read the fine print and ignored any promises to the contrary. This was not a dedicated fund tax measure. So there is nothing to investigate except why voters agreed to hand this city council a blank check."
BYZANTIUM 2 JUL 16, 2021 04:02 PM

NotReallyDave Jul 16, 2021 08:50 PM
Paul Casey Stepping Down as Santa Barbara City Administrator

Paul Casey had just been notified of a citizen's complaint from a Councilmember regarding misconduct and improprieties within the upper administration of two departments. Perhaps he figured it was time he should take a walk into the sunset just like Samario. What will HIS pension be?

a-1626553369 Jul 17, 2021 01:22 PM
Paul Casey Stepping Down as Santa Barbara City Administrator

oh shame on you what a desperate panderer you are; I am a lifelong feminist, have known Cathy and Paul for many years..... your twisted idea of what kind of settlements, negotiations and behavior that human resource agencies everywhere have to deal with is obviously limited..... you and whomever "not really Dave" are seem to rely on brown act violations from a not-so-mature official sharing her own version of events...and her own mean-spirited attacks. never a good way to achieve public policy points

Randy Parks Jul 16, 2021 11:20 PM
Paul Casey Stepping Down as Santa Barbara City Administrator

WOMEN ESPECIALLY ==> NOTE THAT CURRENT MAYOR LOVES AND SUPPORTS CASEY >>> READ THE ARTICLE: https://www.independent.com/2021/06/08/sexual-harassment-by-former-finance-director-was-badly-kept-secret-lawsuit-alleges/

Randy Parks Jul 16, 2021 05:58 PM
Paul Casey Stepping Down as Santa Barbara City Administrator

HE HAD TO GO (see article below) From article: "Tomaszewski also specifically implicated City Administrator Paul Casey for allegedly having full knowledge of Samario’s actions and allowing him to retire..." --- When former finance director Robert Samario suddenly and quietly retired last March after an undisclosed four-month investigation ― walking away with his full $120,000 annual pension and a fond farewell from the city administrator ― it raised a lot of questions and a lot of eyebrows.

<><> https://www.independent.com/2021/06/08/sexual-harassment-by-former-finance-director-was-badly-kept-secret-lawsuit-alleges/

a-1626477358 Jul 16, 2021 04:15 PM
Paul Casey Stepping Down as Santa Barbara City Administrator

Paul has been a damn good City Administrator and implemented the policy direction of the Council with honor. He should feel very proud of his accomplishments and anyone who has worked with him knows this. Good for him in moving on and we should all thank him for dealing with the cretins who were trying to undermine him for their own gain, or projecting their life frustrations upon him.

a-1626474895 Jul 16, 2021 03:34 PM
Paul Casey Stepping Down as Santa Barbara City Administrator

The City of Santa Barbara needs an administrative, mayor and council clean out. We need new leadership an direction. The far left council has spent money on lousy projects like drunken sailors. $40,000 to house one homeless person for four months in a motel, costing $2,000,000 for 50 people and using Measure C money is a misuse of the intended purpose of this money; the repair and replacement of our deteriorating infrastructure. Our city is a rudderless ship under the present government and it is getting worse. Every person running for re-election here must be defeated. At this point, I would vote for Godzilla. It could not get much worse!
Casey overstayed his welcome as well! I fear for the choice of his replacement by the present mayor and council.

LoveMySB Jul 16, 2021 03:10 PM
Paul Casey Stepping Down as Santa Barbara City Administrator

Time for a change. Good bye Paul Casey.
How about that Measure C money and how it's being spent?
"Casey also passed and implemented Measure C to address infrastructure deficiencies including street and road repairs, design of a new Police Station and rehabilitation of City facilities."
Now it 's being used to house the homeless in the Rose Garden Inn??? Isn't that a little outside the scope of what we were all told it would be used for so we would vote for it?

a-1626535001 Jul 17, 2021 08:16 AM
Paul Casey Stepping Down as Santa Barbara City Administrator

Measure C was basically an effort by the City bureaucracy to cover the City's CalPers payments. The $ millions are almost identical though it was sold as an infrastructure fund. While it is true that the Measure C funds are used for infrastructure, if we didn't have this large unfunded CalPers requirement the funds would already have been there for the City services needed. So in effect we're covering the pension payments shortfall with an additional 1% tax on ourselves. And also bear in mind that Measure C had no sunset date - it is a permanent bill to the taxpayers. I can't imagine that any future City Council or City Administrator would initiate an effort to remove that additional funding from their piggy bank.

Byzantium Jul 16, 2021 04:02 PM
Paul Casey Stepping Down as Santa Barbara City Administrator

Measure C is being spent as general fund money at the discretion of city council members; just as it was presented to the voters. If you read the fine print and ignored any promises to the contrary. This was not a dedicated fund tax measure. So there is nothing to investigate except why voters agreed to hand this city council a blank check.

a-1626472011 Jul 16, 2021 02:46 PM
Paul Casey Stepping Down as Santa Barbara City Administrator

I have no real contact with the city administrators office in general. But a few weeks ago I was trying to run down how to access the city newsletters that are sent out weekly. I couldn't find past issues on line or in the city home page. I called public works and was referred to clerk and was referred to city administrator. Called city administrator and they were not answering the phone (normal mid-week business hours). I left a message asking the question with name and phone number. Never got a response. So I doubt that the office took public service very seriously. Good riddance and we can hope for a better occupant.

Byzantium Jul 16, 2021 02:27 PM
Paul Casey Stepping Down as Santa Barbara City Administrator

One mayoral candidate has made the case for a stronger city council running things and a weaker city manager. Fully understand how this would work in real terms with this current city council, before casting your vote on this issue this November. Term limits leave us with too few seasoned council members, with almost zero institutional memory, and virtually no political independence. District elections so far has only delivered superficial "identity politics"; but no pragmatic benefit to the nagging city issues we continue to face. If we are to celebrate superficial identity politics as an end in itself, this switch to identity-politics district elections therefore also gets credit for the sharp increases in pension costs, administrative overhead growth, crime, blight and city infrastructure rot we are now also seeing. We need to measure city council success on far deeper terms than identity politics. Which is unlikely when term limits afflicts the long-term planning and management role of a city council as well. Get good people and keep them. And if they are not serving the city well, vote the bums out. Don't get lazy and let "term limits" do this for you. Term limits and district elections were both utter fails for our city - measure its downfall, bloat and blight from those two impacts forward. One forced on us; one voluntary. Both "election reforms" were highly suspicious as to their real intent - both simply make it easier for city employee unions to secure a majority of city council members that they favor most, for their own agenda.

a-1626533885 Jul 17, 2021 07:58 AM
Paul Casey Stepping Down as Santa Barbara City Administrator

5841 @12:10AM, Deborah Schwartz has consistently argued for a stronger city council, including (of course) mayor. To me, watching the city council, now and proposed, that's a strong argument for the manager form of government as exemplified by Paul Casey and predecessors.

a-1626505841 Jul 17, 2021 12:10 AM
Paul Casey Stepping Down as Santa Barbara City Administrator

Randy, Are you referring to Byzantium's 7/16 2:27 post? I've agreed with him maybe twice yet I read the entire post.

I too think he should state who "One mayoral candidate has made the case for a stronger city council" is.
Maybe Randy R.? Who I intend to vote for.

Randy Parks Jul 16, 2021 11:22 PM
Paul Casey Stepping Down as Santa Barbara City Administrator

HE HAD TO GO (see article below) From article: "Tomaszewski also specifically implicated City Administrator Paul Casey for allegedly having full knowledge of Samario’s actions and allowing him to retire..." --- When former finance director Robert Samario suddenly and quietly retired last March after an undisclosed four-month investigation ― walking away with his full $120,000 annual pension and a fond farewell from the city administrator ― it raised a lot of questions and a lot of eyebrows.

<><> https://www.independent.com/2021/06/08/sexual-harassment-by-former-finance-director-was-badly-kept-secret-lawsuit-alleges/

Randy Parks Jul 16, 2021 11:15 PM
Paul Casey Stepping Down as Santa Barbara City Administrator

Nobody reads a 15" paragraph... re-post, make it a few inches, include the name of candidate, and a link to back up comments... Cut the blala - WOKE current Mayor needs to go for sure (I've lived in SB for 60 years, 63 years old...

Byzantium Jul 16, 2021 02:31 PM
Paul Casey Stepping Down as Santa Barbara City Administrator

Electing independent city council members who have practical outside experience and large business operation skills is even more critical this November, if their first task will be to select a new city manager. This is no place for partisan politics. Especially, if you want an excellent candidate pool for the job. Four seats on council will be on the table this Fall - wisdom, experience and long range planning skills need to be key in choices we voter make this November.

a-1626466864 Jul 16, 2021 01:21 PM
Paul Casey Stepping Down as Santa Barbara City Administrator

At first this was bad news. Now i see it as good news. Things have moved beyond the talents of existing city staff and our elected officials. None of them understand disaster recovery. They don't understand economic development, or how to get affordable housing. They're clueless on homelessness. The economy has shifted big time, and the pandemic exploded that shift. The city frankly needs new vision, and new talent to navigate this shifted world. During the pandemic, the council and mayor led not at all - they kept looking to Paul Casey to do it. Where would he have gotten the talent and experience to navigate the economic shutdown and recovery? Truly abysmal performance by all, starting back with the Thomas Fire. The world has moved beyond them. So let's get people in who can do this job, who care about SB families, not tourists. Who help our local businesses, not developers.

SBREADER Jul 16, 2021 01:04 PM
Paul Casey Stepping Down as Santa Barbara City Administrator

This is the culmination of what has been a radical change in City government since District Elections were implemented. First the Council dramatically changed (I am not sure that is a good thing but it sure is a fact!). Now for those of us who have actually been around a while and paid attention, this is a major shift from longtime Administration lead first by Jim Armstrong who then passed the baton to Paul Casey, his protege. The City is run by the Administrator so to have that era end and who knows what is next, good luck City. One of the reasons I moved.

Byzantium Jul 16, 2021 12:42 PM
Paul Casey Stepping Down as Santa Barbara City Administrator

SBTownie, how do you think over $300 million dollars in annual revenues gets spent, and city staffing close to 2000 employees gets managed? Plus being responsive to a dysfunctional, district elected city council beholden to city employee unions, while still being responsible for allocation of taxpayer dollars. Write the job description for that and you have a good idea of what is asked of a city manager. Few even want to take on jobs like this any longer in this current highly political climate - the applicant pool for his replacement will be very, very thin. Glad you are at least curious about city operations - everyone should be well informed on these topics before they vote - it is that critical for voters to get the full picture and not just listen to special interests with their own axe to grind, or hands out for more of our cash.

SantaBarbaraObserver Jul 16, 2021 12:26 PM
Paul Casey Stepping Down as Santa Barbara City Administrator

Good news. SB needs new leaders, new directions and new blood. Not too mention a 33% across the board headcount cut. We're way overstaffed and over budgeted for a city of 100k. Ask yourself: If tourism is so essential and lucrative, why dont we locals dont receive any benefits from supporting their businesses? Why arent our taxes and fees and various costs lower as a result of their added value?

Byzantium Jul 16, 2021 12:49 PM
Paul Casey Stepping Down as Santa Barbara City Administrator

Several outside reports concluded this city has twice the staff as other similar cities in size, location and local industries- we are similar in staffing only to Santa Monica and Berkeley - both heavily politicized cities. But other coastal cities of similar sizes carry out their missions with half the staffing expenses. This can be researched on Transparent California. We now have some lifetime redundancies in staffing, no mission any longer, turnkey operations, but guaranteed full employment. City needs a lot of staff cross-training and break up some of the current self-serving silos if it is going to change directions and fill the new needs this city is now facing: employee pension short-falls; water; aging infrastructure; crime; blight; and too much dependency on a friable mono-culture revenue base - tourism and government services.

a-1626461474 Jul 16, 2021 11:51 AM
Paul Casey Stepping Down as Santa Barbara City Administrator

what a tremendous loss to the City...... while this may bring glee to a few underhanded developers and their minions, it will be a challenge for the Council to find someone of his stature and experience willing to endure the wrath of the mob who pushed Paul out; and at the same time, rely on the City Manager to select and oversee the selection of a new Police Chief. Oh, what a time to be alive......

Byzantium Jul 16, 2021 12:51 PM
Paul Casey Stepping Down as Santa Barbara City Administrator

Randy, Paul Casey's name was specifically taken out of this law suit -this type of lawsuit names typically every deep pocket it can find in the beginning and only later sorts out the damages that sort of deep-pocket wide net creates.

Randy Parks Jul 16, 2021 11:57 AM
Paul Casey Stepping Down as Santa Barbara City Administrator

From article: "Tomaszewski also specifically implicated City Administrator Paul Casey for allegedly having full knowledge of Samario’s actions and allowing him to retire..." <><> https://www.independent.com/2021/06/08/sexual-harassment-by-former-finance-director-was-badly-kept-secret-lawsuit-alleges/

PitMix Jul 19, 2021 11:23 AM
Paul Casey Stepping Down as Santa Barbara City Administrator

Curb painting next to my driveway, city employee wouldn't respond, but did after Casey forwarded my email to the department head.
Got the Zoning Enforcement group to act finally after a small business turned a house into their office with backyard parking for 8 trucks. Zoning had not acted for months after multiple complaints.
Just the 1st two I remember.....

Randy Parks Jul 16, 2021 02:21 PM
Paul Casey Stepping Down as Santa Barbara City Administrator

PITMIX, can you list the last 2 "infrequent requests" that he's been was always very responsive to my infrequent requests. I "He was always very responsive to..." I have 2 slices of bread, just need a little bit more baloney.

a-1626464372 Jul 16, 2021 12:39 PM
Paul Casey Stepping Down as Santa Barbara City Administrator

Have you not dealt with the city and its myriad complicated rules, policies, fees, etc., that make no logical sense? The first answer city staff always gives is, "No". Whatever you need: NO. Upon pushing, escalating, repeated inquiries, that can be changed to a "Maybe". If you call the City Administrator, who honchos the show, the reply can change to a "Yes" on the spot. Now, if the city deems you in the wrong (you cut a tree you shouldn't have, you built something you shouldn't have, etc.) then you just need to pay up and go away.

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