Tuesday, July 26, 2005

New Suisun manager wants focus on morale and redevelopment

From Daily Republic // July 26, 2005

By Ian Thompson

SUISUN CITY - Suzanne Bragdon was looking to work in a city facing fiscal challenges and economic opportunities.

She found that in Suisun City.

"There is the opportunity here to bring in new investment and that is exciting," Bragdon said, during a Monday visit to meet with city leaders.

Bragdon, 46, was named Suisun City's city manager last week with city councilmembers lauding her experience with economic development and her resourcefulness for improving the cities' finances.

Recruiters hired by the City Council to find a replacement for Steve Baker, who departed in December, approached Bragdon "because they knew I wanted to work in a city with challenges," she said.

At the time, Bragdon was economic development consultant for the small city of Grover Beach. Prior to that, she served as city manager for Pismo Beach and assistant city manager in Napa.

Bragdon and the City Council still have to tidy up several small details on her contract. She is expected to start work on Sept. 1.

Specific general fund issues such as what to do about public safety, which now partly relies on the Solano County Sheriff's Department, will have to wait until she gets settled in her job.

Her first impressions of Suisun City center on its downtown and waterfront which she described as very attractive.

Bragdon said she is impressed with the City Council saying it understands the policy role and that her relationship with the members will be a nice partnership.

Her first task will be getting a permanent management team together, finding people to fill at least three city positions now filled with interim department heads.

With lower-than-average executive salaries, she said the city will have to "get creative" to bring in good talent.

City worker morale also needs to be boosted in the wake of repeated budget cutbacks and stagnant salaries brought on by the city's fiscal problems.

"There are things you can do for morale that doesn't cost money," Bragdon said.

Bragdon lauded the city's redevelopment efforts as the bright spot that has a very good chance to pull the city through, especially with plans for a Wal-Mart just west of Old Town and the Main Street West redevelopment campaign.

"The city has a strong redevelopment agency and the city has property they own," Bragdon said of what she considered a strong foundation for economic revival.

Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or at ithompson@dailyrepublic.net.

Suzanne Bragdon
Age: 46.
Experience: Economic development consultant for city of Grover Beach; Pismo Beach city manager; Napa assistant city manager; Ralph Anderson & Associates management consulting firm.
Education: Magna Cum Laude in political science, University of Washington.
Family: Husband Kirk and 13-year-old daughter Stephanie.

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