Patrick West to step down in September as Long Beach city manager

Patrick H. West, announced Sunday evening that he will be stepping down as city manager of Long Beach, a post he has held since he was appointed by the City Council in 2007. West, 65, says he intends to continue working in the private sector as a management consultant.

“I’m calling it quits, man, but I  just want to avoid the term ‘retirement’,” he said in a phone interview Sunday night. “I’ve been thinking about it for a long time. It just came together today. It’s just good timing for me.”

West said there was no pressure from or problems with the City Council. “Everyone on the Council is fantastic, everything’s good,” he said. “I’m just going to go out there and hang out my shingle as a consultant, but that won’t happen until after my last day as city manager.”

West leaves the office on Sept. 20.

“I’m happy and sad after being city manager of this great city for 12 years. It’s been an honor and I have thoroughly enjoyed it.”

“I can’t thank Pat enough for his extraordinary leadership and friendship,” said Mayor Robert Garcia in a statement. “He truly cares for our city and has built a dynamic team [that is] working to make our city better every day. We will miss him but are excited to see him continue his career in new and exciting ways.”

West came to Long Beach in 2005 when then-City Manager Jerry Miller hired him as the executive director of the Redevelopment Agency and the director of Community Development. Prior to coming to Long Beach, West was city manager of Paramount after serving as that city’s director of parks and recreation.

West has a number of things he’s proud of accomplishing in his dozen years as the city’s chief executive. He points to the Promenade in Downtown, for one. “It was a mess 12 years ago, and now it’s smoking hot. Look at Portuguese Bend. Whoever thought we’d have a distillery in Downtown Long Beach?”

He also mentioned the city’s two newest libraries: Uptown’s Michelle Obama Community Library and the soon-to-open Billie Jean King Main Library.

“We’ve bridged the digital divide,” he said. “We’ve changed the city’s skyline, we’ve made the city’s beaches cleaner, we’ve made the city more walkable, more bikeable, more liveable.”

The City Council will meet in closed session on Aug. 20 to discuss the next steps in filling West’s position.

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Tim Grobaty is a columnist and opinions editor for the Long Beach Post. He began his newspaper career at the Press-Telegram in 1976 as a copy boy and moved on to feature writer, music critic, TV critic, copy editor and daily columnist. He’s the author of several books, including I’m Dyin’ Here, and he lives in Long Beach.