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Windsor offers interim town manager permanent position

After serving as Windsor’s interim town manager for nearly six months, Ken MacNab was offered the position on a permanent basis.

He is set to be confirmed at the Town Council’s next meeting on May 15. His appointment comes after the town went through a series of employee turnovers, a switch to district-based elections under threat of a lawsuit, and an abrupt resignation last year of the previous town manager, John Jansons. The town announced Jansons’ resignation in a three-sentence statement just hours before a council meeting in December.

MacNab’s contract is still being finalized, but he’s set to make less than his predecessor, who as the town’s highest paid employee made about $195,000 annually, Mayor Dominic Foppoli said. MacNab will make about $186,000 a year.

Before taking on the interim manager position, MacNab worked as the town’s community development director since 2016. He had worked in a variety of city government roles throughout the North Bay since settling in Santa Rosa in 1997.

He said the town manager role was never on his radar when he started working in planning after receiving a master’s degree from Portland State University in 1995.

MacNab, 52, assumed he would continue to work in planning departments, which he has done for Napa, Calistoga, Santa Rosa and, most recently, Windsor. However, MacNab said his experience in planning will serve him and the town well as it moves forward with projects.

“The plans for the Civic Center, infrastructure and housing are all projects not only of interest and excitement to me but my background in community development lends itself to them,” said MacNab, who lives in Santa Rosa with his wife and two teenage children.

Town council members expressed similar enthusiasm over MacNab’s appointment, saying he brings a stability to the town that is much needed after a period of transition.

“I am really excited about Ken, and what I have been hearing from people is that there’s a sense of morale with him in charge,” Councilwoman Esther Lemus said. “He has the qualities of a person who can lead a town.”

Echoing Lemus’ sentiments, Councilwoman Deb Fudge said MacNab is a good fit for the town.

“Ken being a professional planner will be very helpful as a town manager as we move forward with redeveloping the Civic Center because that is all right up his alley,” she said.

When it comes to Windsor, Fudge said the most important thing to remember is that it’s an innovative community that really cares about small town character.

To that, MacNab said Windsor has been successful since incorporating into a town in 1992, and that he looks forward to the next 25 years.

“Windsor is still a newer community in the county and we are in a period of transition - not only organizationally but we’ve become a bigger town,” he said. “I am envisioning updating procedures and policies with technology as we continue to grow.”

In addition to MacNab, town council members recently hired Sonoma County Sheriff’s Lt. Ruben Martinez to serve as the new police chief.

Meanwhile, town attorney Robin Donoghue, who works with the Oakland-based law firm Meyers Nave, which also contracts with Cloverdale and Healdsburg, recently announced she will retire at the end of May. Jose Sanchez, who works with the firm and serves as Cloverdale’s city attorney, was selected by the Windsor Town Council to take over for Donoghue in June.

Sanchez’s background includes development agreements, environmental issues and land-use, according to his resume posted on Meyers Nave’s website.

“I have known Jose for years through local government conferences and I have always respected the work he did with other cities,” Foppoli said. “He is young and energetic and he was really enthusiastic about coming to Windsor.”

You can reach Staff Writer Alexandria Bordas at 707-521-5337 or alexandria.bordas@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @CrossingBordas.

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