News Release News Release The City of Palo Alto
Communications Department
250 Hamilton Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301


PRESS RELEASE 11/27/2007
Subject :

City Manager Benest Announces June 2008 Retirement
Contact : Mayor Yoriko Kishimoto    (650) 644-5084 (cell)
Former Mayor Vic Ojakian    (650) 857-4451 (office)
Palo Alto, CA -- Palo Alto City Manager Frank Benest announced his retirement from full-time local government management, effective June 30, 2008.

 "I am announcing my retirement well in advance so that the new City Council will have sufficient time to recruit for a new chief executive," said Benest. "This ensures that we will have a successful leadership transition for the organization."

Benest started as City Manager in Palo Alto in April 2000. Over his 36 years in city government, Benest has worked in five other communities including City Manager for the cities of Brea and Colton, Human Services Director for Gardena and Youth Services Coordinator for Covina. He started his public services career as a junior recreation leader in El Monte.

In announcing his retirement, Benest stated: "I feel good about our team accomplishments over my almost eight-year tenure. We've been quite accomplished." Benest has helped the City Council and staff produce a number of achievements, including:

  • Eliminated $20 million in General Fund expenses as well as 10 percent of General Fund staffing yet maintained City services during the dot-com bust.
  • Doubled capital spending on City infrastructure.
  • Helped expand the City¡¦s economic base by retaining auto dealers, developing the "Destination Palo Alto" visitorship
    program, and bringing forward the expansion of the Stanford Shopping Center.
  • Facilitated the development of the Opportunity Center that provides services and housing for the homeless.
  • Negotiated the Mayfield agreement with Stanford, producing the Mayfield soccer complex and future market-rate and below market-rate housing in the Stanford Research Park.
  • Worked with Palo Alto Unified School District so the District could reclaim Terman as a middle school and helped
    relocate the Jewish Community Center.
  • Promoted the Palo Alto Green Program, the top renewable energy program in the country, as well as many other environmental sustainability efforts.
  • Rebuilt and expanded the Children¡¦s Library and created the Youth Services Center at Mitchell Park.
  • Assisted the development of affordable housing at Oak Court and the approval of the Alma Street Affordable Housing Project.
  • Promoted leadership development and succession planning for the next generation of municipal managers, as baby-boomer professionals retire from Palo Alto service.

According to Mayor Yoriko Kishimoto, "Frank Benest has guided Palo Alto through eight years of balanced budgets, through a significant restructuring while keeping our City organization vital and open to learning and change. His passion for affordable housing has left us with the Opportunity Center and other innovative projects. We are proud of his national leadership on Next Generation succession planning, and appreciate his support in preparing Palo Alto for the future."

Council Member LaDoris Cordell stated, "I have had the immense pleasure of working with Frank Benest during my four years on the City Council. Following a stellar career, Frank is taking a well-deserved retirement. I'm jealous."

Benest has also been quite active on the regional, state, and national levels. He is Past President of the California City Managers Department of the League of California Cities and Past Vice-President of the International City/County Management Association.

Kevin Duggan, City Manager of Mountain View, praised Benest¡¦s commitment to the profession: "In addition to being highly regarded by his peers both locally and throughout California, Frank has developed a national reputation for his leadership in the city management profession. His effort to create strategies for the development of the next generation of local government professional leadership is unmatched and has had a significant and broad ranging impact."

Two years ago, Benest was elected as a Fellow into the prestigious National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA). Chartered by Congress, the Academy involves 550 Fellows including government leaders and scholars who conduct studies and make recommendations to improve the quality of governance and public services in the United States and around the world.

Benest has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University; a Masters in Public Administration from California State University, Long Beach; and a doctorate in management from Brigham Young University.

Benest plans an active next phase, incorporating teaching, consulting, training, interim management assignments, as well as pro bono professional service.