Petaluma’s City Manager Retires After a Long and Stellar Career

Petaluma City Manager John Brown has retired after more than ten and a half years as chief executive of the Sonoma County city. Brown stepped down Nov. 29. Assistant City Manager Scott Brodhun will assume the position on a temporary basis while the city searches for a permanent replacement.

Brown may be leaving city government, but his 35-year career in public service seems far from over. He’s now pursuing a job with the United Nations.

Petaluma was in dire straits when Brown first took over at the height of the recession in 2008, but was turned around under his watch. Brown privatized some city services, hired new staff, and oversaw an impressive revitalization of the downtown area that included two new shopping centers.

“I’m leaving the city in a lot better financial shape than I found it,” he told the Petaluma Argus-Courier. “I was pleased to be able to get through the recession. It was extremely painful.”

The city has a list of candidates it will consider for the post. The Council is expected to begin interviews this month and select a candidate early next year.