Half Moon Bay City Manager Laura Snideman, who shepherded the city through four tumultuous years of economic slump and recovery, will be leaving her position, according to a city announcement late Friday afternoon. Her last day will be March 19.
Snideman will be leaving the city to accept an unspecified executive position in Napa County, her childhood home. Family considerations were a major factor in her decision to leave, according to a city spokesman.
The press release said an interim city manager will be appointed while a search begins to find a permanent replacement.
City leaders discussed Snideman’s departure in a closed-door meeting on Tuesday. Snideman first joined Half Moon Bay in late 2009, arriving at a grim time when the city was cutting about a third of its workforce to mitigate a legal settlement.
She came to Half Moon Bay after working in larger cities, including San Carlos and San Mateo, with a wide variety of experience including economic boosterism, corporate bankruptcy consulting and even lobbying.
She joined Half Moon Bay in a newly created position as the city’s administrative officer, a job that made her second only to the city manager. After one year on the job, Snideman was enthusiastically chosen by the City Council as the new city manager. In fact, no other candidates were considered.
Stepping into the position in 2010, Snideman's first years were marked by the dilemma of how to steer city through a financial slump while maintaining a baseline of core services. Her solution involved downsizing the city’s workforce and transitioning City Hall to fundamentally rely on outsourced services. The police, recreation, and planning departments each were eliminated and reformed as contract services.
During her tenure, Snideman continued to garner high praise from elected leaders, and they generally trusted her recommendations. Often to the ire of critics, council members rarely contradicted Snideman or challenged her decisions for the city.
Among her accomplishments, Snidemen helped secure $13.15 million in settlements from the past insurers to offset the huge expenses from the city’s litigation over the Beachwood property. The city over this period built a new emergency-operations center and miles of new trails along Highway 1.
Snideman leaves a considerable imprint on Half Moon Bay. She single-handedly selected many contractors for positions by making hires under her discretionary threshold, around $30,000.
Snideman reportedly announced her departure to a portion of the city’s staff on Friday.
“My time in Half Moon Bay has been deeply rewarding — both professionally and personally,” Snideman said in the prepared release. “I am very proud of what we accomplished over the past four years.”
Snideman was not available at City Hall for comment.