Milpitas has hired a new chief administrator: San Jose deputy city manager Julie Edmonds-Mares. Her appointment comes months after her predecessor, Tom Williams parted ways amid allegations that he harassment and misusing taxpayer money.
In a closed session on Tuesday, the City Council unanimously chose Edmonds-Mares from a field of about 30 candidates.
“Julie is a seasoned and community-oriented leader with the right experience necessary to engage our richly diverse community,” Vice-Mayor Marsha Grilli said in a press release sent out Wednesday evening. “Her experience working with a variety of stakeholders to provide excellent municipal services will serve the Milpitas community well.”
Former Milpitas police Chief Steve Pangelinan served as interim city manager from the time Williams resigned in September until this week, when the council appointed Dianne Thompson to fill the role until Edmonds-Mares comes on board. Thompson was fired as city manager of Arroyo Grande in 2016 for ambiguous reasons—“differences in visions for the management of the city,” according to a press release.
“While this appointment will have a short term, the city is fortunate to have an experienced retired Bay Area city manager in Thompson,” officials stated.
The council will spend the next few weeks negotiating the salary, benefits and other details of Edmonds-Mares’ employment agreement. Williams, who was one of the highest-paid city managers in California, cost the city millions of dollars in legal settlements and recruitment and training because of high staff turnover.
Elected leaders said hiring Edmonds-Mares will help the city reclaim public trust.
“We are delighted to have Julie joining our city of Milpitas team,” Councilman Bob Nuñez said. “Her extensive leadership skills, professionalism, commitment to transparency and innovation will help our organization earn the trust of our community and deliver the services they deserve.”
Over the course of three decades, Edmonds-Mares has worked in the public and private sectors as well as in academia. In 2007, she left the city of Tucson, Arizona, to join the city of San Jose, where she worked her way up to deputy city manager. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business management and a master’s in education.
“Milpitas is a vibrantly diverse community, and I am looking forward to building on it’s strengths,” Edmonds-Mares said in a written statement. “Together, we will work for sustainable growth and development while balancing community objectives, remain focused on protecting public safety, enhance our natural environment, and nurture families. It will be my honor to serve the Milpitas council, and partner with the community to further the quality of life for the city.”