Thursday, June 01, 2023
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City Manager Rachelle Rickard

City Manager Rachelle Rickard is a native of California and a nearly 30 year resident of Atascadero. She graduated with business degree from California Polytechnic (Cal Poly) State University in San Luis Obispo in December 1987 and went to work for a “Big 8” accounting firm where she audited companies as diverse as retail giant Macys of California, the San Francisco Symphony and the fruit canning cooperative Tri-Valley Growers.

Ms. RIckard then received a job with Moss, Levy & Hartzheim, working in their Santa Maria office which specialized in audits of governmental entities and non-profit agencies.  Rickard received her first exposure to the inner workings of government by leading audit teams for 13 cities, 14 special districts, 21 school districts and 26 non-profit agencies.  She prepared financial statements and routinely presented the audits to governing boards.

In February 1997 Rickard took a job as the Accountant with the City of Atascadero and was soon promoted to the position of Director of Administrative Services. At the time of her appointment to the position of Administrative Services Director for the City of Atascadero, Rickard was the youngest person ever appointed to that role; she was also the first female Department Head ever appointed within the City. 

As the Director of Administrative Services, Rickard was responsible for all financial planning and reporting, accounting, accounts payable, purchasing, payroll, accounts receivable, cash management and business licenses.  She was also responsible for risk management, litigation management, workers compensation management, personnel, negotiations, affordable housing, grants management, FEMA administration, construction management for the $34 million Historic City Hall project, redevelopment and successor agency administration, regulatory compliance, contract review, agenda review and budgeting.

While serving as the City’s Finance Director and due to her broad perspective and leadership skills, Rickard was consistently called upon to serve as Acting City Manager for the City whenever needed.  Rachelle was appointed to the position of City Manager of the City of Atascadero in June, 2013.

Responsibilities and accomplishments while at the City of Atascadero include:

The rehabilitation of the Historic City Hall: Rickard has led the funding, planning and construction of the Historic City Hall Project. She worked through the FEMA administration process, securing over $16 million in grant funds from CalEMA and FEMA.  She and her team were also successful in competing for and obtaining $2.2 in California Cultural and Historical Endowment funds for the Project. Rickard managed all phases of construction on the Project, which was completed during the summer of 2013 and came in $9 million under cost estimates.

The introduction of a Comprehensive Financial Plan which allowed the City to build reserves that have been critical in this recent economic downturn.  When Rickard started with the City, it had a deficit unreserved fund balance in the General Fund.  In ten years, the City was able to build to an $11 million General Fund reserve.  This fund balance along with prudent reserve policies and financial practices has allowed the City to maintain services in spite of an 18% reduction in revenues.

Contributions as a key team member for strategic planning, inter-department teams and projects such as Walmart, Lewis Avenue Bridge, Colony Square, Downtown Streetscape Improvements, Eagle Ranch, Colony Park Community Center and Earthquake Recovery Projects.

The development of policies and procedures that save staff time while improving internal control.  The City of Atascadero continues to do more with less and Rickard has been instrumental in fostering that ideal among employees and the community.

The application and award to the City of a $1 million Community Development Block Grant for the Colony Park Community Center.  Rickard led a team that competed on a statewide basis for these grant funds that made the Community Center possible.

Rachelle lives in Atascadero with her husband Brett. They have two grown children, Austin and Meredith.

Upon her appointment to the position of City Manager, Mayor O’Malley stated, “Rachelle Rickard is an exceptionally qualified individual. I have worked with Rachelle over the last eleven years and know her strong work ethic, her commitment to see our City prosper and have seen firsthand the respect she has earned from all employees and our community.  The City Council has complete confidence in her and unanimously chose her to be our next City Manager. We have a strong management team and all of our employees believe in service through teamwork. We are proud of our accomplishments as a City even through tough economic times and will continue to work towards our community inspired goals. We all know we have challenges ahead, areas where we can improve and much more work to do. We are all aligned behind doing the absolute best we can to make our City an even better place to live, work and enjoy.”

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