City Manager James Keene announced today that he has appointed Assistant City Manager Ed Shikada as the City's permanent Utilities General Manager and will bring his appointment to the City Council on Oct. 4 for confirmation. Shikada has been serving as Interim Utilities Director since January of this year. In addition, Shikada will retain strategic operational responsibilities as Assistant City Manager, which he has served in since he joined the City in April 2015.
"While we went out twice in a national search for a Utilities Director, at the end of the day it was clear that the best choice for our community was right here at home," said City Manager James Keene. “Over the past nine months as the Interim Utilities Director, Ed has established a good foundation with our staff, the Council, the Utilities Advisory Commission and the community. He will retain his title and strategic responsibilities as Assistant City Manager, my second in charge, while adding the leadership of our Utilities Department on a permanent basis to his portfolio of responsibilities. Utilities is our largest department with about one-fourth of our workforce, so this move aligns well with our management needs. I am confident that Ed’s organizational and operational experience makes this the right choice for Palo Alto. I expect that greater coordination between departments and integration of Utilities within the City will occur.”
Shikada joined the City in April 2015 as an Interim Assistant City Manager and was named to the permanent position in June 2015, focused on the “public services” group, which includes public safety, utilities, public works, libraries and community services departments.
“This is a unique opportunity to lead an extraordinary organization,” said Shikada. “Palo Alto is a national leader with our 100% carbon neutral energy portfolio, among the highest solar generation per capita, and pushing the industry in electrification to reduce reliance on fossil fuels. Our full suite of electric, water, natural gas, wastewater and fiber optic services uniquely positions Palo Alto to continue our leadership as a utility of the future, while ensuring we meet today’s safety and reliability needs. In addition, the intersection of energy with transportation and mobility makes this a pivotal time to review and reset our strategic direction.”
In tandem with this appointment are several reorganization recommendations within the Utilities Department including the addition of a Utilities Chief Operating Officer to provide greater oversight of department-wide day-to-day operations. The titles of Assistant City Manager/General Manager and Chief Operating Officer reflect the respective roles planned to manage the Utilities Department. Subject to City Council approval of the recommendation, staff will return with an amended organization chart, as well as recommendations to restructure existing vacant positions within the City Manager’s office.
Shikada served in a variety of increasingly senior positions at the City of San Jose from 2003 to 2015, beginning as a Deputy City Manager and most recently as City Manager from 2013 to 2015. Throughout his tenure with San Jose, Shikada oversaw operations of a $3 billion enterprise spanning 15 departments and 5,700 employees and managed services including public safety, economic development, neighborhood, transportation and aviation, environmental and utility, and strategic support services. He also led a number of interdepartmental initiatives related to workforce support and development, public facility construction, and Capital Improvement Programs.
Prior to joining the City of San Jose, Shikada held a variety of positions at the City of Long Beach from 1995 to 2003 including as Director of Public Works, Manager of Traffic and Transportation, as well as City Traffic Engineer and Transportation Planning Officer. He directed operations and improvement of citywide infrastructure systems, as well as the establishment of a new transportation/traffic operations bureau. Shikada also served in several senior transportation roles with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and private transportation consulting firms.
Shikada holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Hawaii, a master’s degree in urban planning from the University of California, Los Angeles, and was a senior executive in state/local government from the Harvard Kennedy School.
His salary as Director of Utilities (General Manager/Assistant City Manager) will be set at $285,000.