Monday, Dec 11, 2017
Christa Bigue
  • San Mateo County Manager John Maltbie today announced his intention to retire by December 2018, ending a lengthy and effective tenure steering the County’s dozens of departments through economic ups and downs to successfully deliver vital services and programs. 

    Earlier today, Maltbie informed the Board of Supervisors of his plans, noting that the County and overall economy’s current strength makes next year a good time to hand over the reins. 

    John Maltbie headshot

    “The County has recovered from the Great Recession, homelessness is on the decline and together we’ve made great strides toward improving childhood literacy and educational outcomes for our foster youth,” Maltbie said, ticking off three priority goals adopted by the Board to reach by 2020. “Thanks to our voters, Measure K gives us the ability to maintain critical services and expand on the innovation that makes this county a place we’re all proud to call home.  I’m confident that the County and its residents are in good hands and that the Board will select a successor who will continue building on its investments in our services, our community and our residents.” 

    Maltbie told the County supervisors he will work with them during 2018 to select the next county manager and ready him or her for the position. The county manager oversees the daily operations of County government, manages its considerable projects and carries out the policies set by the Board of Supervisors. The Fiscal Year 2017-18 budget is $2.82 billion with 5,517 authorized positions. As county manager, Maltbie implemented performance-based budgeting and urged the Board of Supervisors to remain fiscally prudent during more flush economic periods because of future uncertainties. 

    Maltbie served as San Mateo County manager from 1989 to 2008. In 2011, the Board asked him to serve again on an interim basis after the departure of his successor.  He was appointed in December 2012 for a four-year term and in 2015, the Board extended his contract until 2018. At the time, Maltbie expressed a desire to see several County efforts underway come to fruition, 

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    including the 2020 goals and several infrastructure projects including the new Regional Operations Center currently being constructed at County Center.  

    With his guidance, the County set on a course to pay down its unfunded retirement costs, re-established the Parks Department which had been shuttered during the recession, created a new Office of Sustainability, expanded health care access, prioritized affordable housing and nimbly adapted to changing administrations and policies at the state and federal levels.  

    Today the community is safer, healthier and more prosperous for everyone — which makes this an opportune time for a new generation of leadership, he said. 

    “It was an honor to be asked back and I’m grateful the Board felt I still had something to contribute. I will always hold dear my time with the County and the men and women who make it so special,” Maltbie said.  

    However, he added, “This time, I plan on staying retired.” 

    Prior to joining San Mateo County, Maltbie served as city manager in Milipitas and Glendale, AZ as well as the assistant county executive of Santa Clara County. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science and a Masters of Public Administration from San Jose State University. He was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army with the rank of Captain in 1972. In addition to his government posts, Maltbie also taught graduate-level courses in local government and finance, and has served on numerous state commission and committees. 

    Board President Don Horsley credited Maltbie for developing solid goals for the County and helping the Board, the departments and County employees reach them. 

    “John’s shoes are impossible to fill as both a manager and friend. His institutional knowledge is beyond compare. The County was privileged to have him serve as long as he did the first time and lucky he returned when needed. He will be truly missed,” Horsley said.  

    The Board of Supervisors will recruit for the position in 2018.