Former Lafayette City Manager Steven Falk was sworn in August 13 at about 6:30 PM after a brief special City Council meeting as Richmond interim city manager following a 6-0 vote with Demnlus Johnson, III, absent (out of town). Today was the last day for Acting City Manager Henry Gardner who will be moving on to interim Oakland-Alameda Coliseum Authority chief.
Falk resigned as Lafayette city manager in September 2018 after serving 23 years as city manager and another six as assistant city manager. His resignation was apparently over a philosophic difference of opinion about how the population 25,000 should grow. “’All cities – even small ones – have a responsibility to address the most significant challenges of our time: climate change, income inequality, and housing affordability,’ Falk wrote. ‘I believe that adding multifamily housing at the BART station is the best way for Lafayette to do its part, and it has therefore become increasingly difficult for me to support, advocate for, or implement policies that would thwart transit density. My conscience won’t allow it.’”
Most recently, Falk has been teaching at the University of California, Berkeley, Goldman School of Public Policy, where, ironically, Councilmember Demnlus Johnson, III, was a student of his earlier this month.
By all accounts, Falk was an effective city manager in Lafayette, delivering a new $50 million library, veterans building, ballfields, affordable housing, downtown revitalization, housing, and economic development. Lafayette has had twenty-eight consecutive balanced budgets and a AAA bond rating – only 25 of 500 California cities earn this rating.
Falk, who currently lives in Lafayette, earned a Harvard University Master in Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government after completing a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and History at Reed College. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa with highest honors.
Before coming to Lafayette, Falk was a budget analyst in the City Manager’s Office and Public Works Department, City of Long Beach and a senior finance analyst at the Office of Budget and Financial Management, San Francisco International Airport 1988 to 1990.
Some of his recognitions include:
- Bay Area Metro Award Highest Award given by MTC/ABAG For “vocal support of dense and transit oriented housing in the region to address climate change, income inequality, and housing affordability” 2019
- Feature Story on National Public Radio For One City Manager, Climate Becomes A Matter Of Conscience 2018
- Award of Excellence Best New Municipal Library Highest Honors for a California City California Redevelopment Association Lafayette Library and Learning Center 2010
- Award of Excellence Best New Recreation Facility Highest Honors for a California City California Parks and Recreation Society Lafayette Roller Hockey Rink 2008
- Helen Putnam Award Intergovernmental Cooperation Highest Honors for a California City League of California Cities Veterans Memorial Building 2006
Falk has also been a prolific writer
- California Must Demand Green Autonomous Cars San Francisco Chronicle, July 30, 2019
- They're Suing the Wrong Suburb SF Business Times, September 25, 2015.
- We’re All Contract Cities Now Oakland Tribune, April 12, 2014.
- Cities Need Redevelopment Agencies Contra Costa Times, January 29, 2011.
- Budget is Fixed by Stealing from Cities Contra Costa Times, August 8, 2009.
- Reform Our Public Pensions San Francisco Chronicle, May 24, 2009
- Asking People for Money Public Management, February, 2009
- Who Says Libraries are Dead? Contra Costa Times, April 12, 2008. Lafayette, Walnut Creek Join Forces to Build a Veterans’ Memorial Building Western City, September 2006.
- Goodbye Fees, Hello Costco LATimes Editorial, January 18, 2003.
- Scrap Your Entire IT Department And Live to Tell the Tale! Western City, June, 2002.
Falk starts today and will serve though January 2020 while the city recruits a permanent city manager. He will be paid an hourly rate of $175, which is the equivalent of Carlos Martinez’ compensation, including benefits.