Kevin L. Hoover
Mad River Union
ARCATA CITY HALL – The City Council Friday morning selected Karen Diemer, deputy director of Environmental Services, as Arcata's new city manager. She starts in the position Dec. 1.
Diemer is an 18-year City of Arcata employee. She has served as recreation manager and in her current position at ES. She has an encyclopedic knowledge of city processes as well as Arcata's environment and infrastructure.
"I really look forward to bringing continuity of core services, making them cost effective and helping preserve our quality of life," she said. "I feel that Arcata is a very progressive community, we have a first-rate organization here, and I'm really proud to work for both."
Mayor Mark Wheetley said the council settled on Diemer after an exhaustive national search. "We went through a very vigorous process," he said. Numerous applicants from elsewhere in California and out of state were considered, and city staff and department heads were brought in to the process. But in the end, no one could match Diemer's formidable knowledge of, and passion for Arcata.
"Having lived and worked in this community for so long, she has an incredible skill set," Wheetley said. "It's a tough job." He noted that the average job survival rate for California city managers is 3 1/2 years; 6 1/2 years nationally.
He said Diemer's first order of business will be to work with the planned Budget Task Force to reverse the structural deficit which required dipping into financial reserves to meet this year's budget. This, and the imminent retirement of several key employees, will compel a reorganization of City Hall to improve fiscal efficiencies as well as restructure the General Fund.
"It's important that we reverse that trend," Diemer said.
Diemer's husband, Dan Diemer, serves as Arcata's parks superintendent. Since she can't be his boss, he will retire as part of the City Hall reorganization.
"She can take Arcata to the next level," Wheetley said. "We are all excited."