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City manager steps down after 25 years

Pulskamp recalls career highlights

Posted: November 30, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: November 30, 2012 2:00 a.m.
City Manager Ken Pulskamp steps down today. City Manager Ken Pulskamp steps down today.
City Manager Ken Pulskamp steps down today.

 A quarter-century of work will come to a close today when longtime Santa Clarita City Manager Ken Pulskamp walks out of City Hall as an employee for the last time.

Pulskamp announced his intention to retire Aug. 27, saying he would leave at the end of the year to spend more time with his family and to hunt and fish.

He has been Santa Clarita’s city manager for the last 10 years but worked for the city since 1987.

His sudden retirement announcement at age 56 caught many off guard, and the explanation left some speculating.

Speaking in his office along with city spokeswoman Gail Ortiz on Thursday, Pulskamp vehemently rebuffed some claims he’s leaving because of the election of Councilman TimBen Boydston, whose victory in April created some consternation in City Hall.

“I have worked very well with the City Council,” Pulskamp said. “Together we made a great team.”

Despite his claims that he was ready to retire, Pulskamp announced earlier this month he would become the interim city manager in Burbank. He starts Monday.

Pulskamp said he plans to hold that position for seven or eight months but has no desire to stay there — or with any other city — on a permanent basis.

Looking back on his 25-year tenure in Santa Clarita, Pulskamp said his most memorable experience was in the aftermath of the 1994 Northridge earthquake that rocked the Santa Clarita Valley.

He recalled driving around the day after the earthquake and seeing the city in flames with oil bubbling up from McBean Parkway.

When he arrived at City Hall, he was not allowed to enter due to extensive structural damage. This meant he and other city officials had to work out of tents in the parking lot until repairs could be made.

Damage is not the only thing Pulskamp says he remembers about that time. He also remembers seeing residents come together to rebuild.

“I got into this business to help people and it was great to be in a position where people desperately needed help and we were able to step up and serve their needs,” Pulskamp said.

As for the future of Santa Clarita, its exiting city manager said he hopes to see the city continue to emphasize open space and parks and recreation services, as well as continue down its path of “fiscal conservatism.”

Former Assistant City Manager Ken Striplin has been appointed Santa Clarita’s city manager.



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