Updated at 3 p.m. with additional information.
BARSTOW • Almost two years after Richard Rowe took on the job of Barstow city manager, the City Council will now begin the process of hiring someone new to replace him when he retires.
Rowe submitted his letter of resignation and retirement to the Council Monday, saying time and age had caught up with him. His retirement will be effective Dec. 31.
"I have had a 45-year career in public service, and how I have loved it," Rowe wrote in his letter. "From my perspective, the measurement of success (and) satisfaction in public service relates to the number of positive contributions that have been implemented for the betterment of the citizens (and) communities you have served."
Rowe became Barstow's interim city manager February 2008 after the Council terminated the contract of former city manager Hector Rodriguez in 2007. Rowe entered into a three-year contract with the city as permanent city manager December 2008. Rowe's base salary is currently about $236,988 a year.
The Council will begin the process of hiring a new city manager at a closed session meeting Tuesday. According to Barstow Mayor Joe Gomez, who was a councilman when Rowe was hired, the Council will discuss how to go about finding job applicants as well as a timeline for the process.
"It would be nice if we could complete the process going into (Rowe's) last 30 days," Gomez said. "Mr. Rowe can work with the new manager and have a smooth transition. (But) we can't rush if we're going to get a good quality city manager."
Silva, who was also on the Council when Rowe was hired, said he would like to use the same marketing firm the Council used when it was searching for a city manager to take Rodriguez's place. The firm found the applicants and the Council reviewed applications and interviewed the top five candidates, Silva said.
During the hiring process in 2008, the Council approved a policy that allows the city manager to live within 100 miles of Barstow. This allowed Rowe, who lives in Chino, to stay on as permanent city manager. But Gomez, Silva and Councilman Willie Hailey Sr. said they hope to find a city manager that would be willing to live in Barstow
For Silva, Hailey and Gomez, Rowe's retirement came as a surprise. Gomez and Silva said they would have liked to see Rowe finish out his three-year contract, but they understand why he is choosing to retire.
"He negotiated a lot of our contracts with the wastewater facility," Gomez said, referring to the city's contract with United Water, which operates the facility. "And he followed the Council's role as far as street improvements and infrastructure and put some good programs in place. We're going to still continue to focus on streets and infrastructure."
Councilman Tim Saenz and Mayor Pro Tem Julie Hackbarth-McIntyre could not be reached for comment.
Rowe is also a former manager of Chino and Needles. Rowe had retired from public service in 1996 and 2007 before being hired by Barstow.
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