Noozhawk: Goleta Council Approves Contract for Robert Nisbet as New City Manager

First published in Noozhawk on July 19, 2022.

Following the February announcement of current Goleta City Manager Michelle Greene’s plans to retire, the City Council unanimously voted to appoint Robert Nisbet to take over the position and approved his contract during its Tuesday meeting.

Nisbet currently serves as Half Moon Bay’s city manager, where he has been for about four years, and will commence his position as Goleta’s city manager on Sept. 1.

Nisbet has more than 28 years of professional management experience, including 12 years with the Santa Barbara County General Services Department and seven years as Carpinteria’s public works director.

“His key accomplishments at Half Moon Bay include guiding the completion of the city’s Local Coastal Plan, a successful ballot measure to increase transient occupancy tax to 15%, an MOU with San Mateo County for operation of a new homeless shelter, and initiation of a coast-side economic recovery effort in light of the pandemic,” the staff report for Tuesday’s meeting read.

Before taking on the role of Half Moon Bay’s city manager, Nisbet also had six years of experience as the assistant general manager for the East Bay Regional Park District.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in construction management from Washington State University and a master’s degree in economics from UC Santa Barbara.

“[Nisbet’s] got really big shoes to fill, but he does bring a set of skills, a set of relationships and a set of core competencies that I think will service well,” Councilman James Kyriaco said Tuesday. “I have every confidence that he’s going to do an excellent job.”

Nisbet’s contract — which has an initial term of three years — includes a base salary of $291,000 per year, a vehicle allowance of $700 per month, a home technology and telephone allowance of $150 per month, and up to $10,000 in one-time reimbursement as Nisbet relocates from Half Moon Bay to Goleta.

Health and life insurance; vacation, management, sick and other leaves; and contributions to a 457(b) deferred compensation plan are also included in Nisbet’s employment agreement.

Greene’s last day as city manager will be Aug. 31; however, in lieu of a cash payout of accrued leave, she will continue to work as a city employee as “manager emeritus” to “be reasonably available to the city to answer questions and advise on pending matters while on accrued leave.”

“As mayor, I’ve had to work with you very closely,” Mayor Paula Perotte said to Greene, who worked with the city for a total of 18 years. “It’s been an incredible experience, and I’ll miss you.”

Greene’s commitment to city business will be 7.5 hours per week, but if needed, the new city manager can ask her to work in a part-time capacity for no more than 22.5 hours per week at her currently hourly rate of $128.79 per hour.

Greene will serve as manager emeritus during the transition period until her accrued management and vacation leave are exhausted.

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