PLEASANTON — Longtime city manager, Nelson Fiahlo, has announced his retirement, effective Nov. 1, 2021.
Fialho served the public for 31 years — 25 for the City of Pleasanton, 17 of which were spent as city manager.
“It has been an honor to serve the Pleasanton community, and I could not have asked for a more rewarding public service career,” said Fialho. “The highlight has been working alongside the smart and talented people who support the mission of this extraordinary city, and I am immeasurably grateful to all those who supported me including our employees and city councils, past and present.”
As city manager, Fiahlo led the over 500 city employees in a variety of roles, while balancing an operating budget of nearly $200 million, with an additional $112 million allocated for capital improvement projects. He has been responsible for overseeing all the departments in the city including finance, human resources, community and economic development, public works, utility operations, library, recreation and public safety.
Fiscal sustainability has been a guiding principle of Fialho’s management, “which proved critical in successfully steering the city through the Great Recession and more recently in leading the city’s (COVID-19) response and recovery,” reported a press release from the city.
Fialho’s career also focused on building strategic partnerships, such as those he forged with the Pleasanton Unified School District and Stanford Health Care-ValleyCare. Along with the neighboring cities of Dublin and Livermore, Fialho helped to bring regional testing and vaccination centers to the Alameda County Fairgrounds during the pandemic.
“Nelson has an exceptional ability to bring people together to proactively address the issues at hand,” stated Rick Shumway, Stanford Health Care-ValleyCare President and CEO. “The partnership that we developed during the pandemic was instrumental in safely guiding our community and has set the stage for even greater outcomes as we collaborate to bring world class medical service to the region.”
During his tenure in Pleasanton, Fialho served with five mayors and 19 councilmembers, delivering enhancements to the community including the implementation of the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department, as well as the acquisition of the Alameda County branch library and subsequent upgrade as the city’s library. He also managed a 20-year general plan update and numerous specific plans, and oversaw a comprehensive community engagement process that navigated the city through the challenges of a housing cap lawsuit and housing element certifications.
As city manager, Fialho oversaw the completion of the award-winning Callippe Preserve Golf Course, the Firehouse Arts Center, Bernal Community Park and Patelco Sports Complex, in addition to the Alviso Adobe Community Park and Castleridge Staging Area and trail. He was responsible for the renovation of the Veterans Memorial Building. He partnered with local veterans groups to construct the Veterans Memorial at the Pleasanton Pioneer Cemetery as well as the design and construction of Kottinger Place senior affordable housing.
“As a councilmember, I enjoyed working with Nelson and was delighted to support his promotion to city manager,” said former Councilmember Becky Dennis. “Nelson’s years of public service leave us a great many accomplishments and initiatives to build upon.”
Fiahlo worked to improve the steady growth of Pleasanton’s business community by updating the Downtown Specific Plan to further cultivate vitality, while preserving the downtown’s character, and by partnering with Hacienda to sustain the business park’s competitive advantages. His efforts helped attract world-class companies such as 10X Genomics and Workday to Pleasanton, which funded the construction of the West Dublin/Pleasanton BART Station plaza and police service center as part of its headquarters campus in north Pleasanton.
“I want to thank Pleasanton’s longtime City Manager Nelson Fialho for his 25 years of service to our community,” said Mayor Karla Brown. “Nelson, along with leadership from former city councils, helped to earn Pleasanton national recognition as a great place to live and work. I sincerely appreciate and respect Mr. Fialho’s 25 years of unwavering commitment to our city. It will be a difficult search to find his replacement, but I wish him well as he finds activities that are more fun and less stress.
“Looking forward, his leadership will be missed, as a newly selected city manager and this council will navigate the daunting health and economic challenges alongside our businesses and residents due to COVID-19 and its variants. We are expecting water restrictions due to very light rain this year, and we must find large and new land sites for rezoning to address our massive RHNA allocation before January 2023.”
Next steps will most likely include the city council's selection of an executive recruiter to work with the council on a position profile and recruitment strategy for choosing the next city manager.
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