Given the current economics of local government, one might think it’s the perfect time to flee to the private sector. Not so for Ray Kerridge. A career public servant, his much-publicized resignation from the city of Sacramento seemed to portend the end of that chapter of his life. But instead of heading to a private consortium in Switzerland, he landed up Interstate 80 in Roseville.
“Granted, these are challenging times in local jurisdictions, but that’s what makes it interesting to me,” says Kerridge, Roseville’s city manager since July. “Like Sacramento, Roseville is a great city with a great potential. The significant difference is that Roseville has the desire and wherewithal to grow and fulfill its potential.”
Day one on the job Kerridge was given his marching orders through an adopted specific plan. Among the top priorities is the redevelopment of downtown. For those of you following the erstwhile agenda of Sacramento City Hall politics, that may be a little déjÃ vu.
“What’s missing right now in Rose-ville is a downtown. The downtown should be the vital, vibrant core of any city,” he says. “There’s no ‘there’ there without a city center.”
To make this goal a reality the council recently approved the formation of a development advisory committee. Next up is the formal organization of a development corporation. Finally, Kerridge says it’s up to him and the city planning department to ensure smooth review and permitting are in place.
“In this economy risk needs to be shared,” Kerridge says. “People like Mark Friedman and David Taylor are interested in redeveloping our old town, but they don’t want to be the pioneers. They’ve done enough of that. With the establishment of our corporation we can bring many interests together while at the same time become eligible for tax credits and private equity investment.”
According to Kerridge, cities are not good developers. Instead, he insists, they need to partner with supportive business, investors and developers as well as have the general population behind them. All of which, he says, are present in Roseville — unlike his previous career stop.
“Compared to Sacramento, this is a totally different environment,” he says. “It’s like I died and went to heaven.”
• Occupation: Kerridge, 63, became manager for the city of Roseville in July. He previously served as assistant city manager and then city manager for Sacramento. He resigned that position in February 2010. Prior to his arrival in the Capital Region, he served 25 years in Portland with the Oregon Bureau of Development Services.
• Personal: Kerridge began his public service working for the Greater London Council in his homeland, England. He met his wife, an American journalist, on a trip to Japan. They currently reside in Sacramento but are looking to take up residence in Roseville.
• Public service: “As far as I’m concerned, I’m never going to quit my job. Running a city is a wonderful opportunity to put into motion a lot of great things, whether it’s overseeing a police department, developing a revitalization project or cutting down tall weeds in the middle of a road. My heart will always be in public service.”
• Lunch: At Fat’s Asia Bistro in Roseville, Kerridge selects the dim sum basket with crab and cheese won tons, pork shu mei and chicken pot stickers.
Roseville may be contemplating — again — plans to build a long-coveted conference center. The city has for years touted the benefits of a civic center, but such projects are notorious for their inability to bring in hefty, consistent revenue, and plenty of people are wondering if the right time for such a gamble is now.
Statistics and headlines indicate doom and gloom across the country, but local developers are still building houses. In the Capital Region, Roseville leads the area in new-home construction.