The Santa Barbara City Council approved the appointment of Rebecca Bjork as interim city administrator Tuesday, effective Sept. 11.
She will receive the city administrator monthly salary of $23,573.10 and maintain the City’s benefits she currently receives. The search for the new City Administrator is estimated to take six months.
Ms. Bjork currently serves as the deputy city administrator and has served the city for nearly 33 years. She directed the Public Works Department for more than five years.
“I’m looking forward to providing continuity to the organization and providing service to all of you on council during this interim period,” she said to City Council. “I will say I’m very sorry to see (Paul) Casey go. His 24 years there have been very good, and he served a number of roles, and I learned a lot from him.”
City Administrator Paul Casey steps down after 24 years of service.
“It’s bittersweet that I’m leaving,” he said. “I love the city of Santa Barbara and that level of what we do, but sometimes, you know, it’s time. And for me, it’s time.
“I am really pleased that Rebecca Bjork will be the interim city administrator. The city is in good hands with her leadership and experience, and you’ve got a fantastic staff, just across the board up and down.”
Mayor Cathy Murillo left the meeting early for a family matter and was unable to provide closing comments on Mr. Casey’s work. She did mention that he is leaving Ms. Bjork with a “tight-running ship.”
“Being city administrator is a privilege. It’s a hard job. It’s a fun job. It’s a unique job,” Mr. Casey said.
Council members had comments of appreciation for Mr. Casey.
“I’ve really learned a lot from you, in service and what it means to serve the city and just to have a lasting impact through our involvement,” Councilmember Eric Friedman said. “Your demeanor and how you approach it was never to take credit for anything that was done but to be able to make change and work as a team.”
Councilmember Meagan Harmon thanked Mr. Casey for his leadership during the pandemic.
“You truly have been a steady, steady calming presence for this community,” she said.
The role of city administrator bridges the elected city officials and city staff.