Marcelo Lopez, who’s been Santa Barbara City Hall’s second-in-command for many years, announced that he will be retiring at the end of the year, closing out an 18-year stint with the city and a 38-year career as a government employee.
Known for his dapper style, frank opinions, and quick wit, Lopez emerged in recent years as the city’s de facto point person with the news media. When City Hall opted to conduct its own elections several years ago — rather than pay county elections officers to do so — Lopez supervised the transition. Likewise, he’s played a key role with South Coast Task Force on Youth Gangs.
With Lopez’s resignation, that brings to three the number of high-ranking administrative retirements announced at City Hall in the past two months. Public Works director Christine Anderson and City Attorney Steve Wiley announced their departures earlier. “We’re dropping like flies,” Lopez said. Lopez suggested he might go into private practice as a management consultant, but added he might take some time off “to just relax.” When asked his age, Lopez declined to say other than “old enough to retire.”