Davis lost a longtime public servant this week, as Ken Hiatt, the city’s community development and sustainability director, announced he will take the same position with the city of Woodland.
In his place, the city announced Tuesday that it will bring back former Principal Planner Mike Webb — who left last year to work as the city of Placerville’s director of development services — to take the reins of the Community Development Department in Davis.
Hiatt, a graduate of both Davis High School and UC Davis, worked for the city for 20 years, but decided after moving his family to Woodland last year that it was time for a new challenge.
“I have always held that a position of this influence and importance in a city deserves to have someone that lives in the city and (someone who) is fully engaged with the community,” Hiatt said Monday.
“I thought that after living in Davis my whole life and working in (Davis) for so long that I could somehow overcome that, but now having lived in Woodland for over half of a year, I found myself increasingly intrigued with ways I could have an impact in my new community.”
Hiatt, who was named director of community development in Davis in 2010, will begin work in Woodland on May 1. Webb will return to Davis City Hall on May 20.
Hiatt leaves behind big shoes for Webb to fill; during his tenure, he played an integral role in transforming Davis’ downtown into the vibrant city center it has become.
City Manager Steve Pinkerton acknowledged in a news release Tuesday that the city will miss Hiatt, but he said he’s happy to have found a replacement who already knows Davis.
“Ken has been instrumental in the success of many projects that have shaped Davis over the past two decades and his talent and expertise will be missed,” Pinkerton said.
“At the same time, we are excited to have Mike return … (his) unique skill set and familiarity with Davis will certainly add value to the development services provided to Davis residents.”
Hiatt said he believes the city is in a good place in terms of its planning principles and goals, noting that it has done an “outstanding job” over the years of managing growth.
In Tuesday’s news release, Hiatt also appeared pleased with the decision to hire Webb.
“It is hard to find someone with his level of competency of planning issues and understanding of the community’s values,” Hiatt said.
Webb worked for Davis for 15 years in “various capacities in the Community Development Department” before leaving the staff last year.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental policy analysis and planning from UC Davis and a master of public administration degree from the University of Southern California.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve the community in this new capacity,” Webb said in a statement. “This is an exciting time to work collaboratively with the Davis leadership, skilled staff and engaged community on a broad range of projects and initiatives.”
Hiatt’s departure and Webb’s arrival continue the shuffle of executive management positions within City Hall since Pinkerton arrived in Davis in late 2011.
Since then, Paul Navazio stepped down as Davis’ finance and budget director and assistant city manager to take the city manager’s job in Woodland.
Meanwhile, Pinkerton has hired three executive managers: Herb Niederberger, general manager of utilities, development and operations; Yvonne Pimentel Quiring, assistant city manager; and most recently, Rob White, filling the newly created chief innovation officer position.
— Reach Tom Sakash at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-747-8057. Follow him on Twitter at @TomSakash