City Losing Key People

Written by Neil Farrell

Neil has been a journalist covering the Estero Bay Area for over 27 years. He’s won numerous journalism awards in several different categories over his career.

February 16, 2024

Retired San Luis Obispo Community Development Director, Michael Codron was expected to be hired as the City of Morro Bay’s interim Community Development Director, after the resignation of long time Director, Scot Graham. His contract was to be voted on at the Feb. 13 City Council meeting. Submitted photo

The City of Morro Bay is losing some key people, including the senior member of the management team, a senior planner, and a civil engineer.

Senior Planner Nancy Hubbard retired in December, Community Development Director Scot Graham told Estero Bay News. He added that they were already close to filling her spot to bolster the staffing of Planning Manager Cindy Jacinth.

Graham said they’d hired Kim Fowler, to replace Hubbard in the 4-person staff. She was expected to start work this week, according to Graham.

City Engineer, Eric Riddiough, is also leaving Morro Bay. Riddiough told EBN that he was going over to Caltrans Dist. 5 in San Luis Obispo as a “Senior Transportation Engineer,” where he will be working on a major highway safety project.

“I will be working on the big ‘Y’ project at Highway 46/41, east of Paso,” Riddiough said, “and other projects on Highways 1, 41, 46, and 101 in the district.”

That Hwy 46/41 “Y” intersection is one of the most dangerous little spans of roadway in the state, and helped Hwy 46 earn the ominous nickname — Blood Alley — for the fatal car accidents that have happened there over the years.

Riddiough has been with the City for some 2 years and was working in the private sector before getting the City job. 

Public Works Director, Greg Kwolek will hire Riddiough’s replacement, as the Engineering Department is under his supervision.

And Community Development Director Graham is also leaving Morro Bay and heading back from whence he came.

“I have accepted a position as the Community Development Director for the City of Pismo Beach,” Graham told EBN. “It’s a similar position to what I am doing here; a little more money; and less than half the commute. I live in Santa Maria.”

Graham has been making that commute since he came to Morro Bay — from Pismo Beach — over 9-1/2-years ago. And with the price of gasoline today, an hour-long commute each way adds up quickly. Pismo is less than half as far from Santa Maria as Morro Bay. His last day with the City is officially, Feb. 19 but Graham said he’d be leaving Feb. 15 to eat up some vacation time before he goes.

City Manager, Yvonne Kimball is expected to handle the search for Graham’s replacement, as she is in charge of hiring and firing department heads. Kimball said she was sad to see Graham go.

“While we are sad to see Scot depart from our team,” Kimball said, “we extend our heartfelt congratulations on his new role. Scot was one of the most hardworking directors I have worked with. His dedication to the Morro Bay community is phenomenal. My team and I will miss him. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

Graham said leaving Morro Bay wasn’t an easy decision to make, shorter commute aside. “Leaving Morro Bay was not an easy decision,” he said, “and while I look forward to the opportunities and challenges that lie in front of me, I will also miss the great relationships I developed with the citizens of Morro Bay, the business owners, City staff, councilmembers, and planning commissioners.”

He added, “I have nothing but gratitude for the experience and opportunities the City of Morro Bay afforded me.”

Kimball isn’t wasting any time finding someone to fill in for Graham.

“We are finalizing the agreement with the prospective Interim CD Director this week,” she told EBN on Feb. 7. “The employment agreement is scheduled to be considered and approved at the Feb. 13 council meeting. The Interim CD is expected to start on Feb. 20.”

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