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Suzanne Mason Named As Palo Alto Assistant City Manager

City Manager James Keene announced today that he has selected Suzanne Mason to serve as Assistant City Manager, and will bring her appointment to the City Council on April 6 for confirmation.  Mason currently serves as Director of Human Resources for the County of Napa, and is expected to begin in her new position on May 5, 2015.  The selection was made following an extensive national search and recruitment process that included comprehensive input from a broad spectrum of community stakeholders.  

"Suzanne has more than 30 years of experience in all operations of local government that will be a tremendous asset to this executive position with a broad portfolio of responsibilities," said City Manager James Keene.  “Her role as an Assistant City Manager requires an understanding of the complexities of city operations, including all of our utilities, as well as a responsiveness to the community and to our employees, and a commitment to continuous excellence across all departments.  Suzanne's career in public service and impressive experience make her an ideal fit for this position, and we are looking forward to her joining Palo Alto.”

Mason has a deep background and operational experience in city and county government, and since 2009, has overseen the human resources operations for Napa County’s 1,400 employees including labor relations, personnel, recruitment and hiring, benefits management, pension and health care reform, as well as the successful negotiation of eight labor agreements with employee unions.   

From 1984 to 2009, Mason held increasingly senior key positions with the City of Long Beach.  From 2007 to 2009, Mason served as the city’s Director of Human Resources where she directed operations for the city’s 6,000 employees with responsibilities including labor relations, personnel operations and was the lead negotiator with nine employee unions.  From 2002 to 2007, Mason served as Long Beach’s Deputy City Manager where she directed internal city services and departments including Finance, Human Resources, Technology and Library Services, and was responsible for the development and oversight of a $2.7 billion city budget.  She was also Manager of Business Operations for both the Energy and Parks Departments.  

“I am very excited about the opportunity to join the management team in Palo Alto,” said Mason.  “The Assistant City Manager position offers me a unique opportunity to return to city management in a progressive, well-run city.  I spent 25 years of my career working for the City of Long Beach.  Long Beach and Palo Alto share similar challenges in balancing the need to protect the unique qualities of city neighborhoods with market driven demand for economic growth.  I look forward to working with the City Council, the management team and City employees in serving the residents of Palo Alto.”  

Mason holds a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of California, Santa Barbara, a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Southern California, and is a graduate of the Senior Executives in State and Local Government program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Her salary for the position will be $220,000 and will include a taxable stipend of $2,500 per month for rental housing within the city.

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