Richmond council approves new city manager’s contract

Laura Snideman is set to become Richmond's new city manager in 2020.

Richmond City Council on Tuesday voted to approve the contract of its next city manager, Laura Snideman.

Snideman has been serving as assistant city manager for Fairfield for five years, and was previously city manager for Half Moon Bay, where she was credited with leading the city’s recovery from a financially difficult period. When she assumes her post on Jan. 27, she will become the first female city manager in Richmond history, City Councilmember Demnlus Johnson III said Tuesday.

Her three-year contract includes an initial base salary of $255,000 annually, and about $342,868 total compensation. She is set to replace Richmond Interim City Manager Steve Falk, who accepted the role on a temporary basis in August following the firing of former City Manager Carlos Martinez. Martinez departed after less than a year amid a dispute with the city’s labor unions.

Only Councilmember Nat Bates opposed Snideman’s hiring. Bates believed the other finalist for the city manager’s role, who wasn’t named, offered more experience running a city similar to Richmond in both size and issues. Bates identified that city as Compton.

Councilmember Jael Myrick said both Snideman and the other finalist were “very qualified” in different ways. Myrick believes council hired the right candidate for the right time. Snideman, he says, “has the skills necessary to bring people together in a city organization, which is something that is definitely needed.”

Snideman’s career has also included stints as executive officer at the Local Agency Formation Commission of Napa County, as economic development manager of the City of San Mateo, and as housing and economic development director of the City of San Carlos.