November 24, 2023
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Santa Barbara city manager to step down after 13 years


Jim Armstrong

Santa Barbara City Administrator Jim Armstrong will step down in September. (courtesy photo)

Santa Barbara City Administrator Jim Armstrong will step down at the end of September after 13 years in the position, the city said on Friday.

Armstrong was appointed as Santa Barbara’s chief executive in September 2001, a role in which he and oversaw 10 departments and managed the city’s $275 million operating budget.

The city said it will begin the recruitment process for his successor next month.

Armstrong oversaw dissolution of Santa Barbara’s redevelopment agency, the city noted, and was key in the creation of a task forces on neighborhood improvement and youth gangs. He also helmed the city as it constructed a new airport terminal building, administrative offices and a downtown parking structure behind the Granada Theatre and renovated its fire department headquarters and the Carrillo Recreation Center. Armstrong has been an advocate of securing additional funding to improve Santa Barbara’s infrastructure, the city said.

The city said it also launched a comprehensive performance measurement and tracking system under his direction.

Armstrong was previously the city manager in Fullerton and Hanford and also served as assistant city manager in Anaheim. In total, his career in local government spanned 37 years.

Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider praised Armstrong for his straightforward approach. “Jim Armstrong has been an exceptional city administrator these past 13 years. During his tenure and through his leadership working with the City Council, the city of Santa Barbara became a stronger, more fiscally sound organization,” Schneider said in a statement. “He is widely respected both locally and statewide for his effective management style, direct communication and vision. Personally, I have appreciated his approach in presenting key information and options towards complex issues for the City Council’s policy consideration. I wish him well as he enters this new chapter in his personal life.”

Armstrong and his wife will continue to make their home in Santa Barbara, the city said.