City Manager Phil Kamlarz announces his retirement

Berkeley City Manager Phil Kamlarz: grateful to city employees for making cuts. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel

Phil Kamlarz, Berkeley’s City Manager for the past eight years, today announced his retirement. His last day on the job will be November 30th. Kamlarz has served the city for 36 years.

“He’s been an absolutely remarkable city manager,” said Mayor Tom Bates. “He’s the longest serving city manager in the city’s history.”

Bates said he would recommend the appointment of Deputy City Manager Christine Daniel as interim city manager, with an evaluation after six months for the permanent role. This was the process used when Kamlarz was first appointed. According to a senior city employee, it has been clear for a while that Daniel was being groomed as Kamlarz’s successor.

“In over 36 years of public service, the last eight as City Manager, I’ve come to believe that Berkeley is truly a unique city that is willing to take on any challenge,” Kamlarz wrote in his resignation letter to the mayor and City Council. “There are so many firsts that I’ve had the opportunity to be part of. Few city managers can say that.”

“Phil has been involved in so many efforts to make Berkeley a cutting edge city in the US,” Bates said. “He’s a great partner and he’s going to be missed.”

Kamlarz has steered the city through particularly difficult economic conditions, preserving Berkeley’s AA+ bond rating — “the best bond rating of any city our size,” commented Bates. He also led negotiations in the last year with city workers on savings to alleviate Berkeley’s looming budget deficit. Kamlarz has received criticism as one of the city’s highest paid employees in a time of cutbacks, with a gross salary of $240,759 in 2010. City leaders have consistently pointed to Berkeley’s superior financial rating and the scale of the job in defending the salary.

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  • Relieved

    Thank Goodnes.  Now our city can get some computers with Unix on them and bring the city’s technology kicking and screaming in the 70s.

  • Berkeleyguy

    It’s a nice feel good story and he has done a lot of good things but no wonder he wants to get out, the city will be tackling deficits (and still hasn’t adequately budgets for capital projects) and the sweetheart retirement plan he has makes it a no brainer…

  • Bob


  • Anonymous

    Does anyone know what his actual retirement compensation will be?

    I don’t begrudge him the salary – $240k is certainly very nice but I’m sure he works hard for it, and retiring after 36 years seems reasonable.

  • LetsGoBuySomeCheapCupcakes

    Good. Bye. 

  • Voxhumana

    After the debacle on the funding for retirement plans for CoB employees, it’s time for a new manager. With the power of the city manager, it’s time for a limited term of employment.

  • Berkeleyguy

    if Berkeley City Manager Phil Kamlarz retires at the end of 2011, his
    $260,000 annual salary will be converted to a $280,000 yearly pension. Continue reading on California public employee union retirees – the new bourgeois? – San Francisco Marin Republican | work if you can get it….

  • The Sharkey

    Yeah, I actually liked the Berkeley Daily Planet’s coverage of this issue.
    Retiring at 108% of his salary is absurd. Why is the City of Berkeley paying this guy more to NOT work for them than it did when he was an employee?–By-Becky-O-Malley

  • libraterian

    Not since Adam West played Batman has anyone appeared in more phony fight scenes. Silencing the unions by giving them everything they asked for: Brilliant reverse psychology!