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New assistant city manager has deep roots

Posted: February 25, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: February 25, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Frank Oviedo

 

The city of Santa Clarita has followed Frank Oviedo throughout his professional career.

He worked in the city as a management analyst in the Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Services in 1997 alongside another man just beginning his career — Ken Striplin, who is now Santa Clarita’s city manager.

Oviedo then went to work as an assistant to the city manager in the city of Elk Grove, where he worked under John Danielson, who had previously been Santa Clarita’s parks superintendent.

After a stint in Elk Grove, Danielson helped oversee the incorporation of a new city near Interstate 15 in the Inland Empire.

That city, Wildomar, would later hire Oviedo as its first city manager in 2009.

“And I’ve got the lamp to prove it,” Oviedo said in his office Thursday, gesturing to the light fixture on his desk that bears his name and former title.

But for Oviedo, 42, the interest in public service began far before he became Santa Clarita’s new assistant city manager in January.

The youngest of three children, Oviedo grew up in the Central Valley and lived in Fresno for a time. As a child, he said his dream was to be a photographer.

But that dream was superseded in eighth grade, when his sister took him to a meeting of the Fresno County Board of Supervisors.

“I was exposed at an early age to what good government, good management could do,” Oviedo said. “I think that may have left a strong impression on me.”

And now, less than two months into his new position, Oviedo is trying to make the same sort of impression on Santa Clarita.

His first weeks on the job have been spent learning his way around, trying to get comfortable with his new surroundings.

As assistant city manager, Oviedo helps oversee much of the day-to-day operations of the city, including communications, government affairs, human resources and the city clerk’s office.

Along with settling into his new job, Oviedo is still trying to “get his sea legs” in the city. His family has not yet found a home in Santa Clarita, meaning Oviedo is staying in a hotel and commuting back to Wildomar on the weekends.

“Even not living here just yet, I want to be a strong part of the culture here,” Oviedo said. “So sometimes I’m here Saturdays, too, if there are events where I can get out in the community.”

Oviedo said his biggest goal as assistant city manager is to bring the goings-on at City Hall closer to residents.

“When you work in a public position, people sometimes don’t call you to compliment you; they call you to complain,” Oviedo said. “But the way I see it, if people call City Hall it’s because they have a problem. And I see that as an opportunity to help make this a better community.”

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