Rickard will be retiring in July of this year to travel and spend time with family
ATASCADERO — After serving for 26 years at the City of Atascadero, with the last ten years as the City Manager, Rachelle Rickard has announced that she will retire in July of this year.
As a graduate of California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Rachelle Rickard moved to Atascadero in 1989 and has served the City since February 28, 1997. Rickard received her first exposure to the inner workings of government by leading audit teams for 13 cities, 14 special districts, 21 school districts, and 26 non-profit agencies. She started her career here as a City Accountant and was quickly promoted to Administrative Services (Finance) Director where she served for 16 years. Rickard was appointed as City Manager in June 2013.
In Rachelle’s role as the Administrative Services Director, she was the Project Manager for the rehabilitation of the Atascadero Historic City Hall, which was completed ahead of schedule and came in $9 million under budget. She introduced a Comprehensive Financial Plan, which allowed the City to build reserves that were critical during economic downturns. When Rickard started with the City, it had a deficit unreserved fund balance in the General Fund. In ten years, the City was able to build an $11 million General Fund reserve. Rickard also implemented Council Policies to bring the City from a “Going-Concern” audit note to financial stability.
Since becoming the City Manager, Rickard has set the foundation for and directed the implementation of significant Council directives, such as repairing over 42 miles of neighborhood roads in a six-year period and increased the overall Pavement Condition Index (PCI) by 8 points as part of the Atascadero Road Program/ F-14 Sales Tax Measure; established a branding, marketing, promotions and events program that includes popular events like the Tamale Festival, Dancing in the Streets, and Fall Festival; increased vibrancy and activity in the Downtown through investment and programs; streamlined processes to enhance economic development and stretch tax payer dollars; focused on transparency, accountability and community outreach events with programs such as “Talk on the Block,” and outreach campaigns for initiatives such as cannabis regulations, D-20 priorities, and the Downtown Infrastructure Enhancement Project; and secured much needed voter approved funding for police, fire, infrastructure and other critical City service needs (Measure D-20).
Rachelle Rickard was key in obtaining over $32 million of federal and state grants for the City of Atascadero. In addition, Rickard has facilitated projects such as the all-inclusive Joy Playground, the Colony Park Community Center, the Zoo Garden Event Center, the Thelma Vetter Red Panda Exhibit, the Lake Dredging Project, the Centennial Plaza and Bridge, Outdoor Pickleball Courts, The Plaza on El Camino and the Lewis Avenue Bridge.
“Rachelle Rickard is a tremendous asset to the City, having built a strong management team to carry out the key priorities and objectives of the City Council from beginning to end,” said Mayor Heather Moreno. “As you look at new businesses and infrastructure projects or events and a thriving Downtown, her professionalism, strong work ethic, and exemplary leadership are manifest citywide.”
When asked which accomplishment she is most proud of, Rickard stated, “I am proud of our City team and culture. We have an incredible team of hardworking individuals with a passion for serving the community and the desire to work collaboratively to get things done. It has been an amazing privilege working with them.”
Regarding her plans for retirement, “The decision to retire has been in the works for a few years now and I am looking forward to traveling and enjoying time with my husband of 33 years, spending more time with my family including visiting my two grown children, Austin and Meredith,” said Rachelle Rickard.
“Rachelle will be terribly missed as City Manager, but her legacy of building an incredible City culture made up of a strong, capable team will continue to move Atascadero forward,” said Mayor Moreno.
In the coming weeks, the City will begin recruitment for Rickard’s replacement as City Manager.