Kay currently serves as city manager of San Leandro 

The Healdsburg City Council voted unanimously Monday night, Oct. 5, to appoint San Leandro City Manager Jeff Kay as the new city manager for the city of Healdsburg effective Jan. 1, 2021.

Kay will have an annual base salary of $251,504, a management incentive of $550 per month and an annual city contribution of $19,500 to a deferred compensation plan. He will be placed in the 2% at 60 Cal-PERS pension tier where he will pay the full employee share of the cost.

He will also receive reimbursement up to $8,000 — which must be used in 2020-21 — for relocation and temporary housing assistance.

“We are really excited to have Jeff come to Healdsburg. He is a really great person, candidate and is the right choice for the city,” said Healdsburg Mayor Evelyn Mitchell.

Kay has worked with the city of San Leandro for over 11 years and has worked in a multitude of city positions.

San Leandro lies next to two major suburban cities, Oakland and Hayward, and has a population of 89,703 people, a metropolis compared to the small town of Healdsburg.

Kay has served as the city manager of San Leandro since 2018 and prior to that, he served as the city’s assistant city manager.

He also previously worked as the city’s economic development manager where he played a role in developing the city’s fiber optic network, a craft brewing business cluster, and a public art program.

During that time he was also successful in seeing through several voter-approved revenue measures.

“It has been a great place for me and a great experience, so it has been a pretty emotional week with the excitement of coming to Healdsburg,” Kay said.

He said while he wasn’t actively looking for a new job the position came across his desk and it piqued his interest.

“These flyers come across our desk from time to time in the city manager world and I saw Healdsburg and the photos they put on and I said, ‘This is something I need to take a look at professionally and personally,’” Kay said.

After a thorough interview process with council and spending a few weekends in town, Kay decided that he wanted to make the career change.

“I was able to do a few weekends here and there up in Healdsburg and that just reinforced everything I knew. We all hear things about a ‘small town feel’ and sense of community and quality of life, and those are real things (here) and you have it in abundance,” Kay said. “The more time I spent here the more it just felt right ... I’m really excited to get up there and get to work.”

Kay thanked the council for being gracious throughout the interview and selection process and he said he is grateful for the opportunity.

While he hasn’t met all of the Healdsburg city staff, he said he senses a warm and welcoming feel from the city and would like to work to maintain that feel.

City council members spoke highly of Kay and said they were all unanimous from the start about selecting Kay.

Councilmember Ozzy Jimenez said he thinks Kay will bring a lot to the city of Healdsburg.

“I think Jeff Kay will bring a lot to the city of Healdsburg that I get excited about. His current city of San Leandro translates three different languages, I believe it’s Cantonese, Spanish and English, so I get really excited about bringing in an individual that is thoughtful and humble and can get the job done,” Jimenez said.

Councilmember David Hagele said there were quite a few things about Kay that were impressive. Hagele added that he is excited for the community to get to know Kay in the coming months..

“I am really excited about the future of Healdsburg and this is one component,” Hagele said. “I am really excited that he is going to be our city manager.”

Councilmember Joe Naujokas also expressed his excitement about Kay joining the city.

Naujokas said, “I’m happy to leave the city in his hands … To me my sentiments about Mr. Kay are distilled down to three words, thoughtfulness, thoroughness and thesis.”

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