By Steve Dreyer
Poway City Manager Penny Riley will retire in four months, closing out a 25-year career at City Hall.
Riley, 53, informed Mayor Don Higginson of her decision and told her staff Monday afternoon.
While her retirement is effective on Feb. 28, she will be taking accrued vacation and her last day at the office will be Jan. 24.
Riley said her decision coincides with her husband’s retirement and has nothing to do with municipal matters.
“I look forward to retirement, continuing my course of study at Maranatha Bible College and a short-term mission trip to Zimbabwe this summer,” Riley wrote in her retirement letter. In recent years she, her husband and college-age son have made several trips to Africa to build houses and offer other assistance.
Riley started at City Hall in 1988 as a college intern, having been hired by then-City Manager Jim Bowersox. Her career included tenures in the planning department, on the city’s first water conservation team in the early 1990s, and in several mid- and upper-level positions in the city manager’s office.
She became the city’s third city manager in January 2010 following Rod Gould’s resignation to become city manager in Santa Monica.
Higginson said Monday that Riley had told the council at that time she would stay for three years, then retire.
“We have been very fortunate to have the benefit of Penny’s city legacy experience,” Higginson said. “She has outstanding technical knowledge, the right skills set and has the trust and respect of the council.”
The process by which Riley’s replacement will be found will be discussed by the council at a future date, Higginson said. Riley is making $228,000 per year, plus benefits.
Among Riley’s accomplishments as city manager have been the development of public-private partnerships leading to civic improvements such a Aubrey Park and the lights at Arbolitos Sports Park, the construction of Veterans Park and improved relations with veterans groups; significant technological updates, including online services through the city’s website, social media and a couple of new programs to be rolled out soon; succession planning involving the hiring and training of key personnel, and the city’s water conservation track record.
“I am honored to have served this community for more than 25 years and take with me great memories of the fine teamwork accomplished over this time,” she wrote. “I am especially appreciative of the council’s support during my tenure as city manager.”