Getting a warm Claremont welcome

It was all smiles and hand shaking in the Padua Room Monday evening as new city manager Tara Schultz got a warm reception from the Claremont community.

Ms. Schultz, who started her job last week, spent the evening meeting and greeting people from all corners of Claremont society during a welcome reception at the Hughes Center. Around 80 people attended the event, including city councilmembers, school board members, city employees and local gadflys.

The meeting was presented as an informal social hour with drinks and hors d’oeuvres. 

“Honestly as much of a whirlwind, as crazy as it’s been, I’ve really enjoyed it,” Ms. Schultz said. “I’ve had a great time.”

Ms. Schultz noted that much of her first week has been spent getting to know community leaders, city employees and councilmembers to get an idea of what they want in a city manager.

Her first week was not without drama, however; Ms. Schultz said she walked into her first day as Claremont city manager while on the phone with Golden State Water Company, trying to deal with the water outage.

“I got to city hall and Tony [Ramos] walked in and he said, ‘Good, you’re here,’” she said. “I said, ‘Of course I’m here.’”

She spent the day making sure the right information was sent out as city staff fielded calls from residents looking for answers.

“Eventually they got the water back on, that was really all that mattered,” she said. “I was hoping it was going to be on sooner.”

In the middle of the meet and greet, Ms. Schultz took the stage in front of the room and addressed the crowd, thanking them for attending. She said her first week has been, “a little overwhelming and crazy, and I have loved every minute of it.”

“I have been trying to be a part of Claremont for my entire career, so this is a really big deal for me,” she said.

One of the things that attracted her to Claremont was its reputation for having a very involved community.

“I started in Sierra Madre, which is very much like Claremont in that it takes a community to make things happen,” she said. “And that’s what I love about this place.”

Traffic and Transportation Commission Chair Zach Courser said there is always room for improvement when it comes to the manner in which a city manager, or the city as a whole, interacts with commissions. He did note that new hires, such as new City Engineer Frank Lopez and Community Development Director Brad Johnson, have been demonstrating a lot of “meaningful interaction” with the TTC.

“I think [city staff] should be aware when there is a vacancy, being able to fill it, doing outreach to the commissions, keeping their ear to the ground,” Mr. Courser said. “I believe the commissions could actually make the city manager’s job easier.”

Claremont Police Chief Shelly Vander Veen had nice things to say about Ms. Schultz, saying she had no doubt she would continue the work ethic of the previous city manager Tony Ramos.

When asked what he would like to see in a new city manager, Police Commissioner Ed Reece noted he would be looking for someone who would “continue to uphold our values.”

Sue Keith, who was waiting for her turn to meet Ms. Schultz amid the throngs of people crowding around her, said she was looking for a city manager who, “Understands Claremont, understands and admires the excellent quality of living that we have in Claremont.”

At Tuesday’s city council meeting, Ms. Schultz used part of her time during the city manager’s report to thank the community for giving her a warm reception.

“It’s been a great week and a half for me, and I’ve really enjoyed my time,” she said.

—Matthew Bramlett


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