Tuesday, December 27, 2016

City Manager’s Perspective: Reflection on Success in Governance and a Bright Future for Foster City

As City Manager, I am one part of a well-tuned engine that drives the City of Foster City forward. The City operates under a Council / Manager form of government, whereby the City Manager serves as the chief executive officer, who is responsible for overseeing all day-to-day city operations. The City Council, who is elected by the citizens, is responsible for providing broad policy direction for the City Manager to address and carry out. This form of government provides cohesiveness throughout the organization that enables the City Council and staff to align the programs, projects, and services that meet the needs and expectations of our citizens.

As City Manager I oversee an excellent Executive Team comprised of Department Heads who manage the respective departments of Foster City:
  • City Manager – provides administrative and legislative policy support to the City Council and provides oversight in the areas of budget, economic development, environmental sustainability, information technology, animal control, transportation and capital projects
  • Communications/City Clerk – maintains the official record of proceedings to ensure the continued operation of the City and also directs public information, media communication and civic engagement activities
  • Community Development – ensures construction code and building compliance and manages the long-term planning regarding growth and development for the City
  • Financial Services – manages the City’s financial resources responsibly
  • Fire – protects lives, property and the environment
  • Human Resources – provides a safe, healthy and positive working environment for Foster City employees
  • Parks & Recreation – manages the City’s parks and recreation activities, City facility maintenance and City vehicle fleet
  • Police – ensures public safety and the protection of property 
  • Public Works – manages infrastructure construction, operations and maintenance programs for streets, drainage, lagoon and levee, water and wastewater

A Year in Review - Daily Governance & Key Accomplishments

Through the continued leadership and dedication from your City Council and City staff, Foster City has achieved many accomplishments this past year. Of these, a few highlights include:
  • Delivered a new City Council agenda management system
  • Expanded the City’s presence on social media channels such as YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook
  • Developed and distributed monthly e-newsletters with updates on City events, activities, and projects, as well as local business community news to approximately 9,000 subscribers
  • Implemented Foster City Access/SeeClickFix, a citizen reporting tool that allows for ease of communication with the City; which in 2016, has had over 660 non-emergency issues successfully resolved
  • Hosted an ongoing series of Community Informational Meetings on major projects such as the Levee Project, which has given residents and business owners an opportunity to be involved and give valuable input
  • Worked alongside City Council and residents to begin the initial phase of the Recreation Center Master Plan Study; which through use of Foster City Forum, distribution of surveys, and meetings with different focus groups/City-held public meetings, have received over 200 responses
  • Coordinated Emergency Preparedness and Safety Days with residents and local businesses; including training of 87 additional Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) members
  • Maintained fiscal responsibility through strategic financing for major projects such as the Clean Water Program/Wastewater Treatment Plant Project, as well as achieving a balanced budget for fiscal year 2016-2017
  • Responded to over 1,500 calls for service on a monthly basis between Fire and Police
  • Promoted over 20 internal employees in an effort to retain and encourage professional development within staff
  • Adopted the Economic Development Strategic Plan, outlining the first two years of programs and initiatives to help direct long-term economic development in Foster City
  • Hosted a Business Roundtable Meeting with over 60 business leaders to discuss challenges and opportunities facing our business community
  • Conducted over 25 business visitations to grow and enhance outreach efforts
  • Partnered with Scoop Technologies to bring a carpool-matching program to Foster City residents and employees, and have removed over 4,700 cars off the road in its initial 3 months
  • Partnered with Kiva to create a loan-matching supporter account for peer to peer microlending, offering loans to small businesses 

In these shared successes, City staff has delivered in a responsible and diligent manner the quality services that characterize good governance. This stems from a committed City staff who will continue to work closely with the community in an engaging way.

We have a bright future in Foster City and your City staff will continue to work as a team to make Foster City great. We will champion ethical behavior and integrity. We will be relentless in incremental improvements and innovations. The City of Foster City is committed to excellence in the delivery of services and it begins with the City Manager and the City Department Heads.

These values and guiding principles are what inspire City employees to make sound and professional work decisions and provide outstanding customer service to our residents.

I am proud to serve you and all who call Foster City home. Governance happens every day, and every day your Foster City Government is committed to working for you and with you.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Fall Classic / 2016 World Series

Plenty of baseball to be played and who will it be, the Cubs or the Dodgers in the National League, the Blue Jays or the Indians in the American League. You just don't accidently show up in the World Series and four very good teams are battling to get in. I would have loved to have been rooting for the Giants, but I am still sure there will be some magical moments, great plays not forgotten and a home run that is epic in the game of baseball we love at the time all the world is watching the "Series." Enjoy.

Your Vote, Your Voice

Have you registered to vote? As the election date nears, please be reminded that there is one week remaining until voter registration closes. In California, the deadline is October 24th, 2016 at 11:59 PM. 

To register to vote, you will need to complete a brief voter registration application on paper or online. Paper applications are available at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), post offices, and many other government offices -- including Foster City City Hall. In a few simple steps, registration can also easily be completed online. 
  1. Go to www.registertovote.ca.gov.
  2. You will need:
    • A California Driver License or California Identification Card Number
    • The Last Four Digits of Your Social Security Number
    • Your Date of Birth
  3. Complete Steps 1-5 of the Application
And that's it! We strongly encourage all to register. Exercise your right to vote. Join the conversation, because your vote DOES count.

Halloween Festival

Halloween time is upon us and the annual Foster City Halloween Festival is being held this year on Saturday, October 29th, 2016 from 11:00 AM-2:00 PM at The VIBE. This event is filled with SPOOKtacular family fun, including arts and crafts, games, and a haunted house. And don't forget, wear your costumes! A costume contest will be sure to bring out the monsters, ghosts, and goblins in everyone. 

Admission is $3 per person (and free for ages 2 years and under). Any proceeds from this event will go to benefit the Foster City Youth and Teen Foundation.

We hope to have you join in on the festivities. Have a safe and Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

September: National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month, and it is the time of year that our community can come together  to protect the City from potential disasters. This means that community members should consider their own emergency preparedness plans, and consider ways to help during an emergency. There are many ways that the City is prepared to combat these disasters, however each individual resident of Foster City can play a major role. Here are the ways you can make a difference in the City’s preparedness plan:

Family Preparedness

The first step is to make sure that you and your family are prepared! A simple conversation at dinner, or Saturday breakfast can be the catalyst to getting the family ready. These conversations are vital and can lead to steps such as building a family emergency kit, and establishing a meeting place in case your home is uninhabitable due to fire or other emergency. Here are a few tips for taking action:
  • Children should know where the emergency kit is, and how to use some of the tools in the kit. 
  • Assembling a list of emergency contacts who live outside the area is also imperative. In the event of an actual emergency, local phone circuits will be impacted, and letting someone know that you are safe will give your family & friends peace of mind. 
  • Another problem families commonly forget is having a supply of vital medication on hand. Families should understand what medications are necessary for their own well-being. For example, diabetics who take daily medication for diabetes must have enough medication to last for at least a week, in case the disaster impacts typical ways of obtaining medications in a timely manner. 
  • Now is also a good time to review your homeowner or renter insurance policy for coverages related to natural disasters. 

For a top 10 list to see if your family is ready for an emergency, please visit: www.community.fema.gov/take-action/activities. Also consider signing up for SMC Alert for emergency alerts at www.smcalert.info.

Community Preparedness

There is a saying that “two heads are better than one,” and preparedness is no different. In this instance, having a community that is better prepared will have a greater impact than having only one individual being prepared. Emergency preparedness is a “whole community” effort. Your neighbor may need you when an emergency hits. Getting to know your neighbors, and planning with them, could be key to surviving a disaster and preventing as much damage as possible. Foster City has an amazing Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program that gives you the tools to help prepare your family to respond to a disaster with your neighbors.

Citizens can help first responders during emergencies by volunteering. CERT is a great way to get you, your family, and neighborhood prepared for an emergency. The City employs a team of volunteers whose sole purpose is to aid fire fighters, police officers, and other first responders in the event of an emergency. These brave volunteers provide an amazing resource in that they are citizens in neighborhoods across the City, and are trained to cope with the stresses of a disaster -- such as basic disaster skills, first aid, and team organization. When primary first responders are working on significant events, these individuals add to the recovery effort by providing these services. You may learn more about the program by visiting www.fostercitycert.org.

Community members can make a dynamic impact on disaster response and recovery efforts, but the first step to making a difference starts with being prepared. Start the conversation with your family, begin gathering the items you will need in your disaster kit, and get involved with the CERT program. You will be glad you did.

I would like to thank Jenelle Masterson for her continued leadership in her position as Emergency Preparedness Coordinator, as well as Vanessa Brannon who has passionately led the CERT Program.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Economic Development in Foster City

What does Economic Development mean for Foster City? The textbook definition of economic development is “any policy, program, initiative or activity that strives to improve the economic well-being and quality of life for a community by creating jobs and retaining jobs.” To Foster City, economic development means so much more. It means supporting our vibrant business community, keeping jobs local and encouraging people to play, work, and live in a town we all love.

Created by the Economic Development Ad Hoc Subcommittee and approved by City Council on September 19, 2016, the Economic Development Strategic Plan is the first two years of programs and initiatives supporting long-term economic development in Foster City. The Plan addresses everything from workforce housing to traffic to ways in which businesses can market to each other! Directing the plan are several guiding principles. They include: 

  1. Maintain positive, ongoing relationships with the business community and economic development stakeholders;
  2. Create and sustain a safe, clean, green, and fiscally sound business environment that benefits all those that live, work and play in this City;
  3. Support the health and growth of businesses, especially in the areas of business intelligence and training, workforce development, workforce housing, and access to capital; 
  4. Continue to invest in public infrastructure that commercial and residential property owners need to thrive; and 
  5. Improve Foster City’s transportation network to address traffic congestion for commuters and residents.

I’m very excited for the next two years of economic development programs and initiatives that will enhance and support not only our business community, but all residents.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Hard Work and a Little Bit of Luck

I recently read a very good article in Forbes Magazine by Jason Belzer. It was titled "Why the Oregon Ducks Teach Us That Luck Isn't Everything."

I agree that there is little question that luck plays a tremendous role in the outcome of an given circumstance, but there is no doubt that the pursuit of excellence and greatness is a combination of hard work, effort, your return on luck, dedication and passion.

I recently shared these thoughts with our City Executive Team, as outlined in the article by Jason Belzer.

  • Luck in and of itself is not enough to make any one individual or organization great, rather it creates the opportunity for greatness.
  • Entrepreneurial Forethought, Pioneering Innovation, and Disciplined Overacheivement. These are the principles that allow organizations like the City of Foster City to capitalize on lucky events through exacting preparation and precise execution.
  • Everyone understands that in order to keep us pointed in the right direction, even when things might seem perfectly fine, they have to be willing to hold each other equally accountable. We have to stay entrepreneurially oriented, but professionally managed.
  • At the City of Foster City, we lead by inspired standards, not inspired personalities.

So I challenge our team to adhere to these principles and be greater by choice!

Friday, August 5, 2016


Summer is in full swing in Foster City and there is still plenty to do in and around Foster City to enjoy the summer weather.

Whether you are a long-time resident or new to the community, there’s always something great to discover (or revisit) in Foster City. I encourage you to try something from the list!
  1. Enjoy the blue lagoons – right here in Foster City.
    Foster City is well known for its unique water ways, but they are more than a beautiful view! Everyone is welcome to boat, fish, swim, paddle, or windsurf the water. Three of Foster City’s parks also offer sand beach areas. Check the link below for more information.

  2. Have a picnic, play a game, and enjoy the parks.
    Foster City has 160 acres of park and open space to walk, bike, and enjoy. Use the link below to find which park suits your needs  may it be a playground, picnic area, basketball court, barbeque, dog park or more. 

  3. Enjoy a summer treat.
    When you need to beat the heat, what better way to do so than by treating your taste buds? Use the City of Foster City’s restaurant guide to find your next bite; and if you’ve tried it all, come to Off the Grid, a food truck festival hosted every Wednesday night at 5:00 PM at the Senior Center. 

  4. Read a book.
    Summer is a great time to catch up on some reading. Books are perfect to take to the beach, on a road trip, or even right in your backyard. The Foster City Library is hosting events all summer, and there is still time to join in on the Summer Learning Challenge where participants are reading, playing, doing, and finding lots of chances to win prizes!

  5. Attend a summer concert (or all 6!).
    The Summer Concert Series returns to Leo J. Ryan Park Friday, July 15. Enjoy live music from 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM every Friday through August 19. Be sure to bring a something to sit on and a picnic dinner! See the lineup at the link below. 

  6. While you’re at it, see what else the Parks and Recreation Department has scheduled!
    Along with the Summer Concert Series, the Parks and Recreation Department has tons of activities planned to keep your summer busy. Check the City Calendar for information, and mark your calendar for Neighbor Nights, the Family Overnighter (8/20), and the Community Bike Ride (9/18)!

  7. Go for a safe drive.
    If you finish this list, then you can consider taking a drive. Foster City has the convenience of being located in the center if the Bay Area. A short drive can get you to Palo Alto, Oakland, or the beach. A short drive north will take you to San Francisco, where there is more than plenty to explore. 
There’s always something to do in Foster City to soak up the summertime, whether on this list or other, I hope everyone has a safe and fun summer.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

City Manager's Message from the Community Annual Report

I am pleased to provide this information as part of our Annual Report for Fiscal Year 15/16. It continues to be an honor and a privilege to serve this great community as your City Manager.

The City of Foster City Annual Report for Fiscal Year 15/16 chronicles a year of hard work and success of a municipal corporation of city employees who provide the highest quality of service to the citizens of Foster City and excellence in all we do.

In FY 15/16, we have maintained a financially strong municipality, while providing top quality public service to the community. The City Council received and authorized a balanced budget with healthy reserves in all operating funds.

The City continues to invest and improve its infrastructure and park system through a robust Capital Improvement Project Program. Our Public Works and Parks and Recreation Departments are managing over 20 CIP projects that will assure a continued quality of life that our residents expect. We have started the process of two of the most important Capital Projects in the history of the City, with the Levee Improvement Project and the joint Wastewater Treatment Plant Project.

Our City Council has adopted a focused mission and vision statement with clear policy priorities that will position our community for a successful economic development strategy, open discussions on land use, addressing regional traffic and transportation issues, continuing to upgrade and maintain aging infrastructure, ongoing dialogue with the school district on quality schools, and encouraging citizen engagement on a daily basis.

Public safety is always a top priority in Foster City. We highly respect and appreciate the work of our police officers and firefighters. Maintaining a healthy balance among public safety services and all other important City services is a responsibility that is reflected in a well-balanced operational city budget.

The City was also pleased to host its first Business Roundtable to discuss economic development goals with the business community. The meeting marked the initiation of an ongoing conversation about the strategies, policies, and programs we need to put in place for our future economic health. We will be working with the City Council Ad Hoc Subcommittee and the community to develop a comprehensive Economic Development Plan over the next several months.

Lastly, I am also pleased to share that our Executive Team of Department Heads refined and refreshed our team's guiding principles that represent who we are as a City organization: professional, ethical, and the driving force behind our success as a public service team. As stated in the guiding principles, "The employees of the City of Foster City are dedicated to providing excellent service to our community in a positive and caring manner."

We have had a "Championship Season" and I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the Mayor and Members of the City Council, City Staff and the community for your leadership and support. Thank you for your commitment to creating a dynamic, diverse, and beautiful community in Foster City.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

2016 Summer Concert Series / Dance to the Music!

It's that time of year again! On Friday, July 15th, we will be kicking off our signature summer event -- the Summer Concert Series! Presented by the Foster City Parks & Recreation, along with title sponsor Gold Medal Martial Arts, this six week series will feature a number of local bands, ranging from pop/rock to soul and blues/funk. 

The concerts will take place on Friday nights, from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM, at Leo J. Ryan Park Amphitheatre. Gather your family and friends, put on your dancing shoes, and join us for a memorable summer out with the picturesque Foster City lagoon as a backdrop.

A schedule of performances can be seen below:

2016 Summer Concert Series Line-Up
  • July 15th - Pure Ecstasy - Soul/Top 40/R&B
  • July 22nd - Stealing Nicks - Fleetwood Mac/Stevie Nicks Tribute
  • July 29th - Total Recall - 90s Alternative
  • August 5th - Clean Slate - R&B/Funk/Old School
  • August 12th - Houserockers - Pop/Rock
  • August 19th - OTR - Classic Rock & Roll/Blues/Funk

Bringing you this free and live music event, a special thank you is also due to our other sponsors, including T.M. Tobin Co., Loral Landscaping Inc., Rotary International, Mariners Point, Edgewater Marine, Julie Flouty Homes, Joyce Cave Financial Advisors, and AAAAA Rent-a-Space.

For more information, please visit the Foster City Parks and Recreation website at: www.fostercity.org/parksandrecreation/generalinformation/2016-summer-concert-series.cfm

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

FY16/17 Budget Adopted

On Monday, June 20, 2016, the City Council adopted the City’s Annual Budget for Fiscal Year 2016-2017. Below are highlights from my Budget Message for Fiscal Year 2016-2017:

On behalf of the entire Executive Management Team and the employees of the City of Foster City, it is my pleasure to submit a balanced Annual Budget for Fiscal Year 2016-2017 (Budget) and the Five-Year Financial Plan.

The Budget and Five-Year Financial Plan reflect vision, innovation, regional partnerships, and dedicated employees which are the foundation of the City’s endeavors to ensure and deliver on a successful future for the community. This outlook is the result of our City Council’s continued focus on enhancing long-term strength and sustainability for the community...

As we prepare to embark on excellent service delivery for the citizens of Foster City in Fiscal Year 2016-2017, the City will continue to monitor and evaluate revenues and expenditures to ensure we maintain our targets as established and approved by the City Council. We will continue providing Quarterly Reports to the City Council on the performance of all City Funds. These reports will be delivered to keep you apprised and up to date on revenues and expenditures as approved in the Budget. In adopting the Annual Budget, the City Council will approve one of the most important policy documents considered by the City Council each year...

The City of Foster City/Estero Municipal Improvement District have been well managed and are in sound financial condition. I want to take the opportunity to thank all of our City employees for their active participation in, and valuable contributions to, the development of the Budget. As a City team focused on providing exceptional services to the community, our employees remain the City’s most critical resource. I believe the Budget will provide us the resources necessary to maintain vital City services and move forward with a strategy to ensure a positive sustainable future for the community of Foster City. I continue to be confident that the City Council’s vision will ensure an outstanding quality of life for the residents of this great city.

A copy of the Annual Budget for Fiscal Year 2016-2017 can be found here.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Happy 4th of July

You're a grand old flag, you're a high flying flag. And forever in peace may you wave. You're the emblem of the land I love. The home of the free and the brave ...

Enjoy a happy and safe 4th of July celebration in Foster City with food, parades, dog shows, music, and of course the spectacular fireworks show! Enjoy and Happy 4th!

Photo by Gordon Mak

Thursday, June 23, 2016

A Year of Communications

In July 2015, the Communications Division was established in the City of Foster City. The vision of this division is to create a team of knowledgeable staff to enhance public engagement efforts, motivate and support Council, staff, and the public to engage, and to transform our community relations through genuine dialogue.

Since its inception, City communication has increased in size and in efforts, and has provided both improvements and innovation to how the City communicates. By creating a Public Engagement Team with members from every City department, the Communications Division is able to work collaboratively with all departments on projects and events, and collect insight from a range of voices.

I would like to share the many avenues through which the City shares information and engage in dialogue with the Foster City community.

This blog itself was launched in collaboration with the Communications Division on July 1, 2015. 

In October 2015, the Foster City Forum, an online place where citizens can get informed, offer feedback, and stay engaged was launched. This tool offers a variety of survey options so that the public can offer their responses to a broad range of City topics.

In February 2016, the first issue of the Foster City Current was released. With the many projects, events, and press releases, we wanted to create an easy and fun way to see the information that matters most to community members. This monthly e-newsletter includes highlights of what is happening in the City in the upcoming month.  The newsletter reaches nearly 9,000 subscribers each month.

Also in February, the City launched its official app, Foster City Access. With marketing assistance from the Communications Division, the app has nearly 600 downloads so far.

In April 2016, another monthly e-newsletter was launched, the Economic Development Business E-Newsletter. This publication is full of City news and tailors information for our business community in Foster City.

The City’s official YouTube account has been revived, and the Communications Division is dedicated to creating original video content, to help tell the story of the City of Foster City.

The Communications Division has also expanded and re-strategized the use of social media. More frequent and engaging content is being introduced on Facebook and Twitter, and the City is now on Instagram.

In the past month, the Communications Division created an account on Nextdoor, a social network for neighbors. As a Nextdoor agency the City can post information, and we soon hope to host a Q&A for residents.

This is quite a lot to accomplish in a year. I am very proud of what the Communications Division has accomplished, and the direction they are steering City Communications. I encourage you to find the best tool or channel for you, and know that we are always ready to listen and engage.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A Fiscally Responsible Approach to Maintaining Park Infrastructure

Foster City boasts 24 parks and over 200 acres of park and open space, which has a value of approximately $93 million.  Foster City has the luxury of being situated on San Francisco Bay Trail, a planned 500-mile walking and cycling path around the entire San Francisco Bay running through all nine Bay Area counties, 47 cities, and across the region’s seven toll bridges.  Foster City has invested in its parks infrastructure which has brought increased property values, enhanced quality of life, and social connection to our community.

The Parks and Recreation Department maintains a schedule of regular infrastructure maintenance related projects.  For example, play structures are scheduled for replacement every 15 years and courts are scheduled for resurfacing approximately every eight years.  This scheduling ensures the infrastructure in which the City has invested is properly maintained to provide for the excellent space the Parks and Recreation Department is committed to providing to this community.

In addition to regularly scheduled maintenance, the Parks and Recreation Department also works to evolve the Park System to reflect the social landscape.  Our parks provide the space where residents create community, finding opportunities to connect.  The Parks and Recreation Department will bring new park elements to the community over the years as landscape is converted to drought tolerant alternatives (as recently completed at Boat Park), play structures are replaced (as recently completed at Catamaran Park), and new recreational trends emerge (as the City plans for tennis courts resurfacing projects to include pickleball). 

Capital Improvement Projects come in many forms, most of which require multiple levels of City Council authorization.  As an example, the City was fortunate to receive community input on a recent project to convert lawn to drought tolerant alternatives and add picnic areas and bocce ball courts in Leo Ryan Park (CIP 655).  The City is excited to have achieved a conceptual design that meets the interests of park users that participate in activities located in this area of the park.

In the midst of the design stages of CIP 655, a new project, located on the same site emerged; the study to build a new Recreation Center will take place in the coming months.  And while the study to build a new Recreation Center and the associated delay in CIP 655, understandably brings disappointment to this invested segment of the community, the City is very excited to undergo a process to possibly add to our legacy and tradition of excellence to build a new Recreation Center which will take our community through the next 50 years.  There will be many opportunities for the public to provide input into the study to build a new Recreation Center.  The Recreation Center belongs to the residents of Foster City, so get ready and plan to participate in this dynamic moment of City history.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Home Town Pride

Foster City is a community to be proud of. A city rich with wonderful people and families, beautiful parks and waterways. A city that is safe, diverse and thriving. A city that is changing and making efforts to meet the challenges as well as the opportunities that change brings.

I am proud to serve as City Manager of Foster City! Proud of what I believe is one of the nicest cities in our state and nation. I state this with dignity and respect of other cities in our great state, but I believe Foster City is a special town.

We reached out to hear what you are saying about home town pride, and here are some of the responses and a quick video promoting home town pride.

So lets continue to nurture, care and demonstrate home town pride for Foster City. It is a good place to be!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Happy Mother's Day Moms!

I know my mother Lana reads my blog so... Happy Mother's Day, Mom (now I don't have to send a card)! Just kidding, a Mother's Day greeting will arrive via mail by Sunday, May 8th, Mother's Day.
Some say that a mother, more than any other, affect the moral and spiritual part of a child's character. In such, we recognize that mothers have such a  great influence on today's and future generations.
So enjoy this Mother's Day and celebrate with beautiful memories of your mother, or if you are blessed enough to still have your mother in your life, give her a call, write her a note, or send her your blog! 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Foster City Celebrates Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day

What a great day today where we had employees of our city bring their daughters and sons to our place of work with the City of Foster City. A wonderful and cool opportunity to see a whole new side of parents and children as they explore a special day together.

I fondly recall bringing both my daughters to my workplace as well as going to work with my dad, which was really a thrill as he was a football and baseball coach so work was at a ballgame!

This morning I spent time with 11 great kids:
Natalie B.
Reese C.
Rayhaan D.
Gavino F.
Jake G.
Jax L.
Aiden C.
Kyle O.
Jack S.
Kurt S.
Lucia T.

And their parents:
Brandon B.
Frank F.
Garrett G.
Jennifer L.
Vivian M.
Tiffany O.
Kurt S.
Martin T.

We were reminded of the part we play as parents, guardians and role models, inspiring generations to come by sharing the work you love with the children you love. The children will dream about this day for years to come and look back upon it with fond memories.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Boys of Summer

I know a lot of people who long to hear these 3 precious words... Let's Play Ball! (My wife would argue that they are "I Love You," but hey, it's baseball season and the boys of summer are back!)

The excitement of walking into the ballpark, embraced by the brilliant colors of the ball field, uniforms, flags; fans enjoying that hot dog, peanuts, soda or a cold beer and of course watching your beloved SF Giants (or your own favorite team).

Dreams and hopes are always high in April for every baseball fan, and the Giants seem posed for a pretty good year.

The 3 keys for a return to the World Series stage in 2016 are probably the mantra for any good team:
  • Stay Healthy
  • Everyone in the lineup and on the roster makes a contribution to becoming "Champions"
  • Win the 1 run games. Have success in environments that you should find victory, go out and win the day!

I hope to see you at the ballpark. It is a great place to be seen. A group of Foster City employees, family and friends will be rooting for the Giants versus the Dodgers on June 12. Stop by and say hi and LET'S GO GIANTS!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Farewell and Good Luck to Chief Martell! Welcome to a New Era with Police Chief Joe Pierucci!

On Wednesday, March 30th the Police Department and City held a Change of Command and Badge Pinning Ceremony and celebrated the stellar career of retiring Police Chief Matt Martell.
I share my comments from both the Change of Command Ceremony and Matt’s retirement celebration:
Change of Command
It is my honor to be part of such a great and important tradition of the Foster City Police Department with the Change of Command and Badge Pinning.
In recognizing the past…
Chief Martell, thank you for your phenomenal service. Your contribution to the City and Police Department will remain relevant and your efforts in creating excellence in the organization will stand as a foundation as we enter a new era of leadership and change of command.
Matt, congratulations and I look forward to celebrating your milestone later this afternoon.
Honoring our future…
As your City Manager, I am excited as we look to our future era of excellence and commitment in the Foster City Police Department. There is no doubt that with these dedicated, passionate, phenomenal, and brave officers, who we recognize today, the police team will remain champions of law enforcement well into our future. Chief Pierucci, Captain Ticas, Lieutenant Sandri, Sergeant Tidwell, Corporal Beck, congratulations and best of luck as we work together to continue to make Foster City a great place to live, work, and play!
Matt’s Retirement Celebration
Matt’s achievements as Police Chief, Executive Team Member, and as an officer in the Foster City Police Department for 25 years have been significant.
Matt is always first to credit team, recognizing our organization’s culture on the importance of team efforts. Inspired efforts, traditions of excellence, and phenomenal service absolutely require great teams, but great teams demand outstanding leadership and special individual performances. Matt has provided those exceptional individual performances as our Police Chief, colleague, and friend.
Matt, we wish you well as you set sail for a new horizon in your life. Your contributions to our organization and the Police Department have been far reaching and memorable. You have positioned us well to manage the challenges of the future. The praise you receive this afternoon is well deserved and I wish you nothing but the best of luck and good blessings for your future endeavors.
Matt, it has been an honor and a privilege to work with you; I will miss your presence with our team. I know we will meet again to reflect on time gone by and new adventures, good luck and Godspeed!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Be Phenomenal

As your City Manager I believe we have one of the most dedicated staffs in the business of delivering excellent government service. A staff of committed public employees who strive for excellence, demonstrate daily team work and, most importantly, understand serving the public in the best manner possible.

I see department by department employees who work hard to be great, have open and engaged conversations with team members and the public, employees who remain relentless in incremental improvements. I state this with pride, employees with a champion's attitude for a world champion community here in Foster City.

At a recent City Management meeting I asked each City department to provide an overview of why they believe their department is "phenomenal." I share those thoughts with you below.

As we come upon the weekend, have a happy St. Patrick's Day and go out and do something phenomenal!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Economic Development Strategy for a Bright Future

The fiscal health of a City is closely linked to a healthy and strong business community.  Foster City is very fortunate that its local economy has continued to recover and gain momentum since the global recession that began in 2006. Growth in the technology, research & development, bio-medical and life science sectors remain strong for the City. And because these sectors will remain strong for the foreseeable future, a 2nd tier economic model that provides business to business support to these sectors is becoming stronger. To maintain that momentum, the City must be strategic about planning for activities that preserve property values, retain and expand our existing businesses, attract new businesses, and support the efforts of the Chamber of Commerce and all our economic development stakeholders.

On January 25, 2016, the City Council held a Special City Council where they identified five priority areas that they would like staff to focus on for the next year.  The priority areas include land use, traffic and circulation, infrastructure, economic development, and quality schools.  Ad hoc subcommittees, composed of no more than two City Councilmembers and key City staff, have been established for each priority area and will meet throughout the next year to develop work plans to address some of our key challenges.

The Economic Development Ad Hoc Subcommittee, comprised of Vice Mayor Charlie Bronitsky and Councilmember Sam Hindi, met for the first time on February 16, 2016 to discuss the next phase of economic development planning for the City.  Over the next several months the ad hoc subcommittee and City staff will work with the business community stakeholders to establish strategies, policies and programs that will contribute to the City’s future economic health.

On March 15, 2016, the City will be hosting its first Economic Development Business Roundtable meeting.  The meeting will begin at 8:30 am – 12 Noon in the Lagoon Room of the Community Center (1000 E. Hillsdale Blvd).  The purpose of the meeting is to engage with the business community about the economic climate of our City, get their input on important issues, and to share City Council’s vision for moving economic development planning forward.

I am excited about the possibilities of an even stronger Foster City.  With the guidance of our City Council, the experience and expertise of City staff, and the input and support of the business community stakeholders, I am certain we can develop an economic development plan to lead us into the next phase of excellence.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Communication is key! Let us know what you think.

Bill Gates stated, “I’m a great believer that any tool that enhances communication has profound effects in terms of how people can learn from each other and how they can achieve the kind of freedom that they are interested in.”
This month, City staff has launched two brand new communications tools for the Foster City community, through which I hope we can learn from each other and freely communicate on items that are important to our community!
The first is Foster City Access, the official City app! With this app, community members can report non-emergency issues like potholes, street light issues, codes violations, park maintenance, and more. By adding location and pictures the community can help the City respond to reports quickly. You can track the status of your reports as well as those submitted by other community members. The app also houses information and links to the City calendar, news, and City services.
The free download of Foster City Access is available in the Apple App store and Android Google Play, and issues can be reported and tracked at http://www.seeclickfix.com/foster-city. Here is a video that explains the app featuring our Mayor - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGRaDLfcHNw.
The second is a new e-newsletter, Foster City Current. We know that the City releases a lot of information. With the many projects, events, and press releases, we wanted to create an easy and fun way to see the information that matters most to community members. When you subscribe, this monthly e-newsletter will come to your inbox with the highlights of what is happening in the City in the upcoming month.
Along with these tools, City staff is utilizing Foster City Forum to gain further feedback on the Local Hazard Mitigation Plan that is being updated for 2015. If you want to review the draft of the Safety Element, offer feedback, or learn about hazard mitigation, visit the Foster City Forum and join the conversation.
As the City Council and the City staff identify priorities for 2016, we realize that transparency and engagement are key to good governance. We hope that these tools will be as helpful to community members as they are for City staff and City Council.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Foster City Police Department has released its Annual Crime Report and Traffic Report for 2015. I am happy to share that Foster City continues to maintain low rates of both crime and traffic injuries in 2015.

The number of traffic collisions decreased from 2014, and a very small amount of those collisions involved pedestrians or bicyclists. No collisions resulted in fatalities, and if injuries resulted, most were categorized as minor injuries.

Foster City Police Department worked in a number of ways to enhance the safety of motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Officers took part in a number of safety campaigns including Operation Click It or Ticket, Distracted Driving Month, and San Mateo County Saturation Traffic Enforcement Program (S.T.E.P.) among others. Police also conducted focused traffic patrol near schools and high traffic areas during commute times. The efforts made by the Foster City Police Department have resulted in Foster City continuing to maintain a trend of high traffic safety.

Foster City Police Department works tirelessly towards their mission of “Excellent Service, every call, every contact, every day.” FCPD works with a number of agencies and Task Forces to identify crime trends and deter these activities in Foster City. While there has been a steady increase in residential burglaries throughout the country, Foster City managed to hold this increase to a minimum in 2015. Despite these rises, there was a decrease in auto burglaries by 17% from 2014, and the total property crime rate in 2015 decreased by almost 7%.

Looking at the 2015 reports, I am pleased to say that Foster City Police Department is committed to providing the highest quality of policing by utilizing all available resources, crime prevention efforts, and maintaining a technologically progressive outlook. In fact, their efforts have been recognized year after year. In 2016, Foster City has again been included in a list of the 100 safest Cities in the United States, according to Location Inc., a national residential and commercial data tracking company.  In the another report, Foster City has been recognized as the 16th safest city in the State of California, according to BackgroundChecks.org, a site devoted to public safety and open government.

Foster City continues to be one of the safest neighborhoods thanks in large part to Foster City Police Department, City government, and residents working together to ensure Foster City is a safe place to live, work, and play in 2016 and beyond.