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Claremont city manager to retire at year’s end

Tony Ramos didn’t mince words when asked why he decided to announce his retirement.

“I’m ready,” he said. “It’s time.”

Claremont’s city manager, who has worked for Claremont nearly 12 years, has decided to hang it up after 38 years in public service. He announced his intent to retire in a staff-wide email sent Monday afternoon.

“Working for the city has truly been a great experience. I know the dedication and commitment staff has to this organization is second to none,” Mr. Ramos said in the email. “I will be leaving knowing that Claremont employees will continue to work tirelessly to achieve the community’s goals.”

Mr. Ramos said his retirement would be effective by the end of the year.

When the COURIER caught up with him by phone on Wednesday, Mr. Ramos was in the middle of several meetings, a predictably busy day for the city manager. He noted the decision to retire was entirely his own.

“I look forward to have more freedom to do whatever I choose to do,” Mr. Ramos said.

Mr. Ramos became city manager in 2011 after Jeff Parker’s departure. Before that, he served as assistant city manager since 2006, and assistant city manager in Walnut beginning in 1991.

Over the past six years, he has overseen a bevy of projects large and small that changed the face of Claremont, including new retail and residential developments.

When asked about a singular moment that would define his tenure as city manager, Mr. Ramos instead lauded the teamwork of the city staff and residents in making Claremont a better place.

“I think the unique opportunity I’ve had here in Claremont has been the ability to work with all members of the community on so many different projects, and to listen and work with so many different people to come to a resolution,” he said.

But Mr. Ramos will leave the city with a few projects unfinished, most notably the city’s ongoing quest to takeover the water system. Claremont lost its initial trial against Golden State Water Company late last year, and is in the middle of an appeal.

Mr. Ramos said the water takeover was “one of the most challenging” projects he’s worked on. “But it was really amazing to work with the community on that.”

He emphasized that whoever would take over the city manager job, that person would be “150 percent” ready to tackle those unfinished issues head-on.

In a statement released Wednesday, Mayor Larry Schroeder lauded Mr. Ramos’ work as city manager, noting he was the right person for the job.

“I have worked with and known a number of city managers during my 37 years in local government, and Tony is without a doubt one of the best,” Mr. Schroeder said.

Mr. Ramos didn’t have any major plans for life after retirement, save for spending more time with his parents. He plans to remain in Claremont.

“My parents are getting older and I want to spend more time with them,” he said. “It’s not the catalyst, it’s just time.”

The search for the new city manager will begin immediately. It is unclear if the city will hire outside or look within. Mr. Ramos said more would be addressed at the September 12 city council meeting.

Mr. Ramos’ total pay in 2016 was $315,019, according to Transparent California. Broken down, that amount includes $236,537 in salary and $78,482 in benefits.

Mr. Ramos said he is confident the transition will be smooth, a sentiment echoed by Mr. Schroeder.

“The person selected must be interested in a community that has met challenges in the past, has maintained balanced budgets and looks forward to a bright future,” Mr. Schroeder said. “I am confident the person we need is out there.”

—Matthew Bramlett

news@claremont-courier.com

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