Departing Lodi City Manager Rad Bartlam requested that the city council and staff not do anything out of the ordinary to recognize him on his final day at work.
While there were no goodbye ceremonies or extravagant parting gifts, the council members did have a few words to wish him well on his way to Chino Hills on Tuesday night.
“You’ve done exceptionally good work during your time in Lodi,” Councilman Alan Nakanishi said. “Whenever I had a question, you were very knowledgeable, had great answers and helped me greatly.”
Bartlam announced Jan. 9 that he accepted the city manager’s position in the City of Chino Hills, about 30 miles east of Los Angeles. His first day at his new job will be Feb. 10.
Bartlam, 53, had been Lodi’s city manager since 2010, and was the city’s community development director from 1996 to 2005.
He had also been a city planner for the City of Brea, a development services manager and senior planner for the City of Pomona, and an associate planner in the cities of Glendora and Simi Valley.
Not long after Bartlam’s announcement, the council agreed to appoint City Attorney Stephen Schwabauer to the role of interim city manager.
“I have the utmost confidence in you, your leadership and ability to lead this city,” Nakanishi told Schwabauer on Tuesday night. “We’re going to miss Rad greatly, and we wish him success in all his endeavors. Luckily, we have someone we capable filling that position.”
Today is Schwabauer’s first official day as interim city manager. His interim contract states the term will expire in six months.
If the council chooses not to appoint him city manager by that time, he will return to his city attorney position.
Bartlam said few words in his final meeting as city manager, but did present Schwabauer with a few items to assist him in his new role.
“It’s not every day you get to pass the baton to someone,” he said, pulling a pack of lozenges out of a gift bag, saying Schwabauer would need them when reading the consent calendar at each council meeting. He then pulled out a bottle of Advil, joking it was for after the meeting.
A final gift was the “official” City of Lodi tie Bartlam was given when he first took on the city manager’s role. The clothing accessory was covered with the grapes and leaves displayed in the city’s official seal.
“It’s a smashing tie to say the least,” Bartlam joked, “just not one I’ve ever cared for.”
Schwabauer then left his seat on the council dais and approached the podium for public comment. Holding back tears, the interim city manager said he was humbled at the opportunity given to him by the council.
“I pay my water bill. I pay my sewer bill, my electric bill,” he said. “I use the parks and coach parks and recreation (teams). This is my home and always will be my home.”
Schwabauer recalled his involvement in a bicycle crash at Armstrong and Davis roads during a charity race in Jan. 2012. He said that 40 people volunteered to mow his lawn and several people brought food for his family to his front door, as he had been hurt badly in the crash.
“I can’t imagine finding another community that would do that, and I don’t think I want to try,” he said.
Councilman Bob Johnson said the city will miss Bartlam, who had become a friend to him and many others in the city.
“You’ve served the city faithfully and well for a long time, and we wish you well,” he said. “Steve has some big shoes to fill, and we’re sure he’s going to do that. But Rad, come back and visit us sometime.”
“I think Phil (Katazakian) and I are responsible (for Rad’s departure),” Vice Mayor Larry Hansen joked. “We spoke to the council members in Chino Hills, and we were truthful when they asked questions about his performance. Maybe we shouldn’t have been. We will miss you, Rad.”
The council voted 4-0 on Tuesday to appoint Schwabauer as interim city attorney, and 4-0 to appoint deputy city attorney Janice Magdich as interim city attorney.
Councilwoman JoAnne Mounce was absent from the meeting.
Contact reporter Wes Bowers at email@example.com.