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


PRESS RELEASE 12/17/2007
Subject :

Director of Palo Alto Community Services Department to Retire in June 2008
Contact : Frank Benest, City Manager, City of Palo Alto    650-329-2563
Palo Alto, CA – Richard James, Director of the City of Palo Alto Community Services Department, has announced his retirement after almost 29 years of service. He plans to leave his post on June 30, 2008.

James began his career in 1979 as technical supervisor of the City’s community theatre. During his career he has created the Brown Bag and Twilight concert series, supervised special events like the May Fete Parade and Chili Cook-off, and managed the community centers. He became business manager for the Community Services Department and then was promoted to assistant director in 1999, before becoming Director in 2003.

"Richard has been a driving force in the Community Services Department for many years," stated Frank Benest, City Manager. "Under Richard’s leadership, City parks have been revitalized to modern standards and new recreational resources. such as the Pearson-Arastradero Preserve, Heritage Park and the Stanford-Palo Alto Community Playing Fields, have been developed. His long-term experience and commitment to providing quality community services in Palo Alto will be missed."

James has played a lead support role in the creation of new programs and public-private partnerships including Family Resources, the Heritage Park playground partnership, and the recent agreement with the Friends of the Jr. Museum and Zoo. James is also the author of a recently published white paper that analyzed the impact of the Palo Alto aging Baby Boom generation on the future delivery of community and social services. According to James, one accomplishment he is most proud of is leading the development of a strategic plan and reorganization of Community Services that reduced
management staff levels by 20% while strengthening the quality and variety of Community Services offerings.

"Although I take great pride in some of the things I’ve achieved for the residents of this community, the real credit goes to our professional and dedicated staff, the City’s leadership that has given us the direction and resources to make it happen, and the unsung community volunteers who do much to improve and deliver our services," said James.

Over the next six months, James will work towards putting into place the final pieces of the department reorganization, completing the analysis of golf course operations and developing a succession plan that leads to a smooth transition of leadership.

Upon retirement, James plans to spend more time with his friends and family while pursuing his interest in consulting to non-profits and governmental agencies, working on non-profit boards and enjoying his hobbies of music and golf.