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October 23, 2021

Scotts Valley Interim City Manager Comes in With Wealth of Experience

Scotts Valley has hired an interim city manager, as it begins its search for a permanent replacement for Tina Friend, who recently took the city manager position in Coronado.

Brian Haddix, a retired long-time municipal employee from the Central Valley, says he’s thrilled to be here and help out in the meantime.

“It’s a wonderful community,” he said. “I hope to do it justice.”

Scotts Valley has retained Bob Murray & Associates to scour job boards for the long-term manager, but Mayor Derek Timm says he’s excited about having Haddix, for now.

“We’re actually feeding off of his experience,” he said. “I’m learning from him already.”

During a Tuesday meeting, according to Timm, Haddix was able to contribute some interesting ideas toward a discussion of how to keep the Town Center plan moving forward.

“I love that we have that opportunity to have him here,” he said. “There’s a lot for him to tackle, for sure.”

Haddix was raised in Fresno. 

He served as an undersecretary at the California Environmental Protection Agency, starting in 1999, before going on to work as an administrator of Tulare County, then Butte County.

Later, he helped run the city of Sanger in Fresno County as a city manager, and the city of Chowchilla in Madera County as a city administrator.

Haddix says one of his strategies is to keep businesses front and center.

“You can’t have a healthy city unless you consider the business community as your partner,” he said. “We help and reinforce each other.”

But he says there will be other things that will be top of mind for him, too, such as rebuilding the Parks and Recreation Department, and ensuring childcare options are maintained—something he says will be increasingly important in the work-from-home age.

Haddix has also been working as a lecturer at Cal State Fresno as part of the Masters in Public Administration program.

The mayor says it’s great to have someone who can help the community pick up where Friend left off and notes Haddix came out of retirement to do it.

“We have so many balls in motion at the City,” he said. “We couldn’t afford to have them drop.”

The fact that Haddix’s resume included some smaller Californian municipalities was attractive to local officials. It hinted at his broad range of experience running local government, Timm said, noting that’s important because of Scotts Valley’s ambitious agenda on several fronts.

“Making sure that we had someone who was competent and with a lot of experience was very important,” he said. “We’re such a small city, you really have to be hands-on.”

As Haddix arrived to start his first day at work on Sept. 7, he was struck by the redwoods and oak trees stretching up toward the sky.

“What a beautiful community,” he thought to himself. “You’re next to heaven.”

But he didn’t just mean the way it looks, he was considering the character of the place, too.

“It’s a community that seems to be pretty mature,” he said, adding it “has really good bones.”

Haddix sees his role as the “conductor of an orchestra.”

And just like an orchestra, he says, it will take a lot of players to be successful.

“I’m here as a member of a team,” he said. “We need to ensure we’re here to support each other.”

Drew Penner
Drew Penner is an award-winning Canadian journalist whose reporting has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Good Times Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times, Scotts Valley Press Banner, San Diego Union-Tribune, KCRW and the Vancouver Sun. Please send your Los Gatos and Santa Cruz County news tips to [email protected]

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