Changing of the Guard in City of Monterey; City Manager Fred Meurer Retiring
June 18, 2012
Monterey City Manager has a then-and-now slideshow documenting his big accomplishments in a 26-year career with the city, the last 22 years of those as the city's top staffer. Besides the obvious changes in city leadership and economic conditions since then, he says resident shouldn't lose sight of how dramatically different today's Monterey looks.
When he started, the rec trail was train tracks; San Carlos Beach was an empty lot; the grassy Windows on the Bay was occupied by a laundromat, an auto shop and a massage parlor. "All that open space used to be wall-to-wall buildings," Meurer says.
As he prepares to retire next summer, Meurer has seen some major upheavals. He spent his first few years as city manager just as focused on Fort Ord reuse as on the operations of the city.
Still, his proudest accomplishment is a well of knowledgeable city staffers he's helped cultivate.
In an email intended for internal city circulation only, Meurer announced his retirement plans last Friday. There's no set date, but he'll wait to help the new city council after elections this November get up to speed.
Meurer's top pick to replace him, Assistant City Manager Fred Cohn, is retiring next month. "He’s been my right-hand person in terms of staff support," Meurer says. "He and I have worked together the whole time I’ve worked here. I’ll be in mourning."
Meurer says he'll spend his remaining year getting several department heads up to speed and capable of taking on the city manager role.
Other major projects include a $16 million sewer system renovation ready to break ground and remodeling the Monterey Conference Center, which could cost up to $30 million.
"We’ve done a great job taking care of the conference center, but it’s 34 years old," Meurer says. "We just don’t compete as well as we should."
Getting a competitive economic edge is part of Meurer's vision for the future of Monterey, especially in tough economic times when there's a need for increased revenue stream just to keep up the basics like roads and sidewalks: "We just don’t have the resources we once had," he says. "As a community we’ll have to decide what we want Monterey to look like in the next 10 years. If we don’t invest in it, it will be used up and worn out."
Prior to working for the city, Meurer was director of engineering and housing at Fort Ord. Before his service there, he was stationed at Fort Hunter Liggett from 1977 to 81.