The Goleta City Council on Tuesday honored longtime city staff member Vyto Adomaitis, who will be leaving the city later this month to assume a new role with the city of Oxnard.
Mr. Adomaitis, who sported a number of hats during his tenure with the city, most recently served as the city’s director of neighborhood services and public safety director. Some 19 years and one day after the city achieved incorporation status, Mr. Adomaitis was praised by the council for his accomplishments during his time with the “Good Land.”
City Manager Michelle Greene was first to share sentiments, beginning by saying she never expected to be bidding farewell to Mr. Adomaitis, but spoke about him “with great pride and gratitude.”
“It’s truly a bittersweet moment,” she said. “For as much as we’re excited for Vyto and his family, we’re very sad to see him go and we’ll miss him very much.”
Mr. Adomaitis started his tenure with the city in 2002 as a contract employee who oversaw the building and safety functions in Goleta’s early days of cityhood.
“Vyto knows things were crazy back then,” she said. “The little city that could was just becoming a reality and there were a lot of things that needed to be done.
“Vyto jumped right in, and rolled up his sleeves and helped us make it happen.”
He officially became a city employee in November 2003, filling a newly created position of building and neighborhood services manager. He was promoted to redevelopment and neighborhood services director in January 2006, helping build “a new and very important department within our growing organization,” said Ms. Greene.
His position was modified in 2011, and he took on the new role of helping to manage public safety functions and was known thereafter as the city’s neighborhood services and public safety director.
“I think he’s had the longest title of any staff position we’ve had here, but he’s worn it proudly,” Ms. Greene said.
She went on to praise Mr. Adomaitis for his many achievements he and his team have helped bring to fruition, including Goleta’s award-winning Community Emergency Response Team, the housing, rehab and storefront improvement programs in Old Town, and the Sumida Gardens Apartments affordable housing complex. In 2014, his department received the prestigious Helen Putnam Award for Excellence in Public Service from the League of California Cities.
Ms. Greene also mentioned his role leading the project team for the Goleta Fire Station 10 project, his role on the Goleta Train Depot project, as well as his assistance in completing the Jonny D. Wallis Neighborhood Park.
“Clearly, Vyto has made an indelible mark on this organization and helped the city grow over the years,” she said. “His dedication, his high standards for excellence, and his Vyto-isms will all be deeply missed. It’s been a pleasure to work alongside Vyto. His staff, colleagues and I wish him well on his next rodeo.”
Mayor Paula Perotte also gave remarks, and said she will always remember how Mr. Adomaitis would brag and boast about the accomplishments of his staff.
“You were so proud of your city staff,” she said. “A great staff comes from great leadership, so I thank you for your leadership.”
Ms. Perotte said she was very sad when she heard that Mr. Adomaitis was leaving the city, but quickly realized the great opportunity he had in front of him.
“I hope Oxnard knows how lucky they are to get you,” she said. “I wish that we could all be together and gather and have a grand send off like we usually do, where we could all mingle and talk and share stories with you. But, you know, I keep hearing that we’re going to do a barbecue when we can all safely gather and I’m hoping that you will come back up and share what’s going on in Oxnard and give us your input on how we’re doing in Goleta. We’ll all be ready to celebrate.”
Council member Kyle Richards told Mr. Adomaitis that he was grateful for his service to the city, its residents and the community as a whole.
“You’ve left your mark,” he said. “Everything about the neighborhood services and public safety and the city, really, has so much of your mark on it. you should be very proud of what you’ve done and I’m sure you are.”
Council member Stuart Kasdin said that Mr. Adomaitis was “an institution” and “a pillar of the city.” He explained that he was always confident that when a member of the public would raise a concern that they would be treated with respect and decency.
“That’s really part of what Goleta is,” said Mr. Kasdin. “We do care about the public and you’ve been the person to make that happen.”
Council member Roger Aceves, who came to the city council in December 2006, praised Mr. Adomaitis for his work on the city’s public safety committee, as well as his work in getting the Sumida Gardens Apartments to move forward.
Council member James Kyriaco told Mr. Adomaitis that he and his then fiance moved to Goleta in 2010, moving into the Sumida Gardens complex, which he said drew him to the city.
“It was that project that brought me here,” he said.
Many others spoke highly of Mr. Adomaitis and his accomplishments for the city, including Sheriff Bill Brown.
“Your departure is Goleta’s loss and our loss, and Oxnard’s gain,” the sheriff said.
Sheriff Brown then presented Mr. Adomaitis with a certificate of appreciation, as well as an engraved bottle of wine. The second gift did come with a catch, however.
“It’s not a very good bottle of wine,” Sheriff Brown admitted. “It looks very nice, but I would not recommend drinking this wine.
“It’s a $2 bottle of wine with about $35 worth of engraving.”
Sheriff Brown told Mr. Adomoaitis to hold off on indulging until an emergency or disaster scenario.
Santa Barbara County Fire Chief Mark Hartwig referred to Mr. Adomaitis as “a champion of the city and a strong partner.”
He told him that he was “an icon” for Goletans, and presented him with a coffee mug that is good for a cup at any fire station of his choosing, a ball cap and a challenge coin, because he embodies the core values of the fire department.
One of Mr. Adomaitis’ colleagues, JoAnne Plummer, of the city’s neighborhood services team, shared remarks on behalf of the team and promised to continue to make him proud.
Steve Wagner, the general manager of the Goleta Sanitary District and former public works director for the city, told Mr. Adomaitis that “Goleta is a much better place because of you, and I really appreciate everything that you’ve done.”
Mr. Adomaitis admitted that it was difficult to say goodbye “to what has become my extended family,” and thanked his wife and kids for their long-standing support to allow him to serve the city of Goleta and its residents.
He explained that the city sought incorporation status to provide a higher level of service, something he believes remains true today.
“Thank you to all of you for the wonderful opportunity to have served this community,” he said.
“Goleta is truly a special place. It is the Good Land and I am forever grateful for that experience.”
He was then given a virtual round of applause.