Lando to call it quits

ADIÓS, JEFE <br>City Manager Tom Lando (below) has announced that he will be retiring sometime between May 4 and Sept. 3 of next year.

City Manager Tom Lando (below) has announced that he will be retiring sometime between May 4 and Sept. 3 of next year.

Photo By Tom Angel

Tom Lando, Chico’s city manager since 1992, announced this week he plans to retire by September of next year.

Lando, who was hired by former City Manager Fred Davis in 1980 as planning director and promoted to community services director five years later, said he’d made his decision after mulling it over for the last few weeks.

“We go through the annual evaluation, and I told the council I was looking at an 18-month period,” Lando said. “They were very nice and I think sincerely indicated that they’d like to see a longer time frame.”

Lando said he’d consider it and maybe stay another three or four years. But, Lando said, during his ritual daily runs he turned the matter over in his head and finally came to the conclusion that it was time. And on April 21 he gave the council a note of his determination.

He said he will step down sometime between May 4 and Sept. 3 of next year. Lando will turn 53 on Sept. 2, 2004.

His contract requires that he give six months’ notice. This time frame, he said, allows the City Council eight to 12 months to replace him, a process he does not think will begin until July. He said he will be happy to help coordinate efforts to replace him, but that the effort is entirely up to the council.

Lando said he plans to stay in Chico and hopes to teach a course or two at Chico State University. A few years ago, he earned a doctorate in administration from the University of Southern California.

Lando, who has a remarkable ability to understand a multitude of complex issues and offer sage and seemingly unbiased advice to council, will be difficult to replace.

“I set certain personal and professional goals for myself, and I’ve passed where I thought I needed to be,” Lando said. “I just wish my kids were a little more accelerated in their college careers.”

One person not interested in the job is longtime Assistant City Manager Trish Dunlap.

“I don’t want it,” said Dunlap, who’s served in her post since 1982. She said she expects to follow Lando into retirement soon after he steps down.

The thought of Lando’s leaving, she said, “is a little scary, and it’ll be tough for a while. But Chico['s city government] is such a good place to work that they should be able to recruit someone for the job without any problem.”

Dunlap said she was honored to have worked with both Davis and Lando—"two outstanding managers and outstanding people.”

Lando said he will most miss being in the middle of everything.

“And just like Fred [Davis], who kept his promise, I’m not going to be doing any second-guessing and showing up at [council] meetings," Lando said. "I’m going to stay away from City Hall."