Monday, July 25, 2005

Big tasks ahead for new boss in Suisun City

Suisun City appears to finally have a permanent city manager, which is good news. But the job facing Suzanne Bragdon is daunting.

The City Council last week announced the city had hired Bragdon, the former city manager of Pismo Beach, even though there were some details in her contract left to complete. She's expected to be in town by Sept. 1, replacing interim city manager David Martinez.

Bragdon has worked in both the private and public sector during her 20-plus-year career, including a stint as the assistant city manager in Napa. In Suisun City, her position will also include heading up the city's redevelopment agency responsible for almost all growth in the city.

Most of the comments at last week's council meeting dealt with Bragdon's ability to boost the city's economic development and were optimistic. Councilman Sam Derting spoke for his colleagues when he said, "We picked a good candidate and she will do wonders for the city."

There are plenty of tasks on the front-burner for the 46-year-old Bragdon - most notably the Main Street West project, which city leaders hope will spur continued growth of the town's waterfront area. A partnership between area developer Miller-Sorg and Basin Street Properties of Petaluma promises to help bring some major tenants to the marina area.

A proposed Super Wal-Mart near the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and Cordelia Road will also be a major focus for her in the future.

And what to do about the police department - the city farms out its middle-of-the-night law enforcement to the Sheriff's Department and there is concern about the future of the Suisun City Police Department - will undoubtedly require her attention.

However, her first task may be as important: Filling four major leadership positions - community development director, economic development director, assistant to the city manager and finance director.

All are crucial to the long-term health of the city, providing stability and a visio.

We'll see in time whether Bragdon is able to do the high-profile part of her job, which Suisun City has found difficult in the past - making deals to bring major tax-producing businesses to the city. But her first task will be to permanently fill the majority of the city's major management spots.

It will, at least, be Bragdon's team.

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