The glass ceiling has been obliterated in two of the fastest growing cities in the Northern San Joaquin Valley.
And leading the way is Manteca with three women — City Manager Miranda Lutzow, Assistant City Manager Lisa Blackmon, and recently appointed Deputy City Manager Toni Lundgren — filling the top three municipal positions.
Tracy is led by City Manager Jenny Haruyama with two assistant city managers — Midori Lichtwardt and Andrew Malik.
Lundgren was appointed as deputy city manager effective July 1. She worked as the Deputy of Parks and Recreation previously and has been serving as the acting finance director for the past several months.
Lundgren has almost a quarter century of experience in city government. She started in 2007 with the City of Manteca as a recreation supervisor.
She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Recreation Administration. Lundgren is on target to complete a Masters’ Degree in Public Administration in May 2021.
The position was created by the City Council earlier this year to oversee public information and community outreach as well as adding an administrative assistant positon in the city manager’s office.
For years Manteca only had a city manager. When Steve Pinkerton was hired in 2008 when Manteca had a population of 64,979, city leaders decided the workload had grown to the point an assistant city manager was needed. That is when Karen McLaughlin was appointed as the assistant city manager.
When Pinkerton accepted a similar job in Davis several years later and McLaughlin was elevated to city manager, she opted to keep the position vacant given staffing cutbacks driven by the Great Recession had increased the workload of all municipal employees. She didn’t believe it would set a good example is she didn’t accept a heavy workload.
The assistant city manager position was cut from subsequent budgets.
Then Elena Reyes was hired as the city manager. Within weeks she told the council the workload was too heavy and she needed an assistant city manager. Reyes was gone in less than nine months. Her replacement, Tim Ogden who is now the Brentwood city manager, did not have an assistant city manager.
The current council, in a bid to increase efficiency and innovation in the delivery of services, restored funding for the assistant city manager position and added the deputy city manager post.
It is typical for cities in California larger than 80,000 — Manteca has 85,000 residents and Tracy 95,000 residents — to have a city manager with two assistants or deputies to help run the city.
There is only one other woman on the rest of Manteca’s eight member executive team that includes department heads and the city attorney. That is Police Chief Jodie Estarziau who was placed on paid administrative leave. While her employment status is being sorted out, Mike Aguilar is serving as the acting police chief.
Lutzow is working on filling vacant department head positions for public works, finance, and human resources.
Lutzow last month filled the city clerk’s position with John Tresidder. The position was renamed officially as Director of Legislative Services/City Clerk.
Tresidder previously worked in Merced for 6 ½ years in the City Clerk’s Office. He worked his way up through the ranks in Merced by starting as the Records Clerk for the office. Less than a year later, he was promoted to the Deputy City Clerk position and took over all agenda related matters. A year later, he was running the office as the Assistant City Clerk.
Tresidder successfully helped Merced transition to council districts from an at large election system providing for a more diverse City Council. He also assisted Council in revising the City Charter with a Charter Review Committee and placing several measures on the most recent primary election.
Manteca’s elected leaders have been talking about possibly switching to council district elections that would mean a quarter of the city’s population would be represented by a council member that only they elect. The mayor would still be elected citywide.
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