Santa Barbara City Administrator Jim Armstrong advised the Mayor and City Council today that he will be stepping down at the end of September after nearly 13 years in his current position and 37 years in local government.

In his letter to Mayor Schneider and the City Council, Mr. Armstrong thanked the City Council for the opportunity to serve the community. “It has been an honor as well as the professional highlight of my career to serve Santa Barbara over the past 13 years,” said Mr. Armstrong.

Mr. Armstrong was appointed as the City’s chief executive officer in September 2001 and has been responsible for overseeing 10 operating departments and managing the City’s $275 million operating budget.

During that time he led the City through a number of significant events including the 2008-10 recession; the General Plan update; two major emergencies, the Tea Fire in 2008 and the Jesusita Fire in 2009; and the dissolution of the City’s Redevelopment Agency in 2012. He was instrumental in the creation of the City’s Neighborhood Improvement Task Force and the South Coast Task Force on Youth Gangs. The City also implemented a comprehensive performance measurement and tracking system under Mr. Armstrong’s direction.

During his tenure, the City completed the Airport terminal building, new Waterfront administrative offices, and the Granada Garage. The City also restored the Fire Headquarters building and the Carrillo Recreation Center. Additionally, major improvements to the City’s water and wastewater treatment facilities were completed. Over the years he has been a strong advocate for additional funding to improve the City’s aging infrastructure.

Prior to his service in Santa Barbara, Mr. Armstrong served as City Manager in the California cities of Fullerton and Hanford. He also served as Assistant City Manager in Anaheim. He has a bachelor’s degree from UCLA and a master’s degree in public administration from California State University, Long Beach.

Mr. Armstrong and his wife Linda, plan to continue residing in Santa Barbara. He is an active volunteer with the Santa Barbara Rotary Club, Channel Islands YMCA, and the Santa Barbara County United Way. He is also a volunteer pilot for Liga International, which operates charitable medical clinics in Sinaloa Mexico.

According to Mayor Helene Schneider, “Jim Armstrong has been an exceptional City Administrator these past 13 years. During his tenure and through his leadership working with the City Council, the City of Santa Barbara became a stronger, more fiscally sound organization. He is widely respected both locally and statewide, for his effective management style, direct communication and vision. Personally, I have appreciated his approach in presenting key information and options towards complex issues for the City Council’s policy consideration. I wish him well as he enters this new chapter in his personal life.”

It is expected that the City Council will begin the recruitment process in July.


Contact: Nina Johnson, Assistant to the City Administrator
Phone: 805-564-5307

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