Meet your interim city manager

Robert Adams has extensive experience in California
By: Steve Archer, Reporter
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For Robert Adams, interim Lincoln city manager, all roads seem to lead to Lincoln.

A resident of the Park City, Utah area, Adams lives one town over from Heber City, where former Lincoln City Manager Matt Brower now works. And he and former Lincoln interim City Manager Bill Zenoni share a hometown in El Cerrito. Adams was even part of a wedding party a few years ago for a ceremony that took place in Lincoln.

“It’s a weird coincidence,” Adams said. “It’s a small world.”

Although Adams has been on the job for only a week, he expressed confidence in his ability to address the city’s needs and a perspective honed by nearly 40 years of working for cities. He replaces Brower while a permanent city manager is recruited.

Included among the cities Adams has worked for as an interim city manager are Vallejo and Desert Hot Springs, two communities that were facing financial difficulties at the time he stepped in. Adams said he believes in transparency.

“I think Lincoln is closer to a well-managed city. There are few problems here,” Adams said Tuesday. “The public’s business needs to be done in public. At this point, I want to do what’s right in my career and not worry about repercussions. This is pure management for me.”

Adams said one of the first items he may do is reduce the number of staff meetings.

“The staff has a handle on what they have to do,” Adams said. “We’re short-staffed so internal meetings may be distracting staff from getting work done. I expect less standing meetings with staff and there should be a reduction on the total number of meetings. There needs to be more efficiency in getting things done. We’re languishing somewhat.”

The city’s finance department, or Support Services, has the most on its plate of the departments, according to Adams.

“A lot of studies need to come out of the finance department and they need to get the auditors information in a timely fashion,” Adams said. “Also, they have the year-end closing. That’s quite a job and it seems like there’s more and more government regulations. They may have got it out late in the past and I don’t want that to happen.”

Adams said he is looking at everything and “nothing is hands off.” Areas that need evaluation, Adams said, include the city’s public relations, the community development department and the city’s financial situation.

“We need to keep the ball rolling on anything rate-related. I know where the problems are because the city is so well-run,” Adams said. “Economic development is at the forefront, we need to retain businesses, and we need to keep the financial studies going. Sales tax is key. We don’t want to lose traction while waiting for a new city manager to come on board. We have to make sure the development community is served but not bend over backwards for them.”

“We’re moving things forward and not holding back,” Adams added. “We don’t want to lose momentum or other cities will pick up if we do. It’s not a competition but you don’t want to make it a gift.”

Lincoln Mayor Stan Nader called Adams “very engaged and a breath of fresh air.”

“He doesn’t overwhelm you with his presence but he doesn’t hesitate to contribute,” Nader said. “He made a quick and accurate assessment of staff and is doing exactly what we asked him to do. I am very impressed so far.”

 Adams grew up in the Bay Area community of El Cerrito and attended the University of California at Berkeley. He has worked his whole career in California as a city manager, interim city manager or department head.

Adams worked as the city manager of Dinuba, Calif. for seven years; Lafayette for eight years; and Manteca for 12 years before retiring and traveling the state to several interim city manager jobs. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Berkeley and a Masters of Public Administration from Brigham Young University.