A new city manager will fill the executive spot for the City of Goleta starting September 1. Robert Nisbet, who was chosen from dozens of candidates, brings four years of experience as city manager of Half Moon Bay and 19 years of government experience in Santa Barbara County. He replaces Michelle Greene, who tendered her retirement papers in January, after 18 years with the city. Nisbet’s salary will be a $291,000 per year package, an upward increase of $30,000 for the city’s budget.
Goleta is familiar ground for Nisbet, who studied for his master’s degree in economics at UC Santa Barbara in the late ’80s. He worked in the County of Santa Barbara’s General Services section for 12 years and as Carpinteria’s Public Works director for seven years. He then joined the East Bay Regional Park District in 2012, managing 750 employees across 125,000 acres of open space, trails, and parks before he was recruited to manage the Bay Area city of Half Moon Bay.
Hiking, camping, and bicycling are among his favorite things to do, Nisbet said, and he toured Old Town Goleta by bike to search for housing. “There’s not a lot of vacancies in the Old Town business district,” he said, “and that’s a positive thing.”
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He noted similarities between Goleta and Half Moon Bay, with both having affordable housing and homeless issues, though he pointed out that “Goleta’s a little bigger at over 30,000 in population; Half Moon Bay was around 13,000.”
Under Nisbet, Half Moon Bay negotiated a Memorandum of Understanding with San Mateo County for a homeless shelter, raised the hotel bed tax to 15 percent, and completed the city’s Local Coastal Plan, according to Goleta’s staff report.
Current City Manager Michelle Greene had planned to leave at the end of June but will remain through August, continuing to work remotely for the remainder of the summer, which she has been doing part-time for nearly a year because of an illness in her family. The city created the position of “manager emeritus” for Greene, who will remain available as a consultant. The City Council will finalize Nisbet’s appointment on Tuesday, July 19, at the regularly scheduled meeting.