City Manager John Schaefer announced last Friday that he will be leaving his post at the end of July. He has served the City of San Marino as its city manager since July, 2012. Before that, he was San Marino’s chief of police for nearly five years, and public safety director for six months during that time.
“There are a lot of things I can say happened on my watch,” Schaefer said, listing pension reform, the city hall remodel, the installation of Centennial Clock and other accomplishments. “None of these are going to matter as much as being able to build relationships,” he stated.
“These things will last,” he said, noting that encouraging his staff was the most valuable part of his tenure. “There are great men and women working for this city.”
Schaefer recalled some of his proudest moments, which included promoting Aldo Cervantes to Planning and Building Director, hiring Police Chief John Incontro and Fire Chief Mario Rueda and encouraging Susan Jakubowski and Louise Cook to apply for seats on city commissions.
He is also proud of his mentorship of three City of San Marino interns, all of whom have gone on to full-time analyst jobs in other cities.
Schaefer will continue the act of ‘shepherding’ and making connections in his new role as the assistant executive pastor of his church in Fullerton, only a three-minute commute from his home.
In addition to promoting the emotional and spiritual welfare of his congregation, Schaefer will be responsible for the church’s operations, which will allow him to serve his church in matters of insurance, human resources, facilities and special events.
“I have loved my time at San Marino, but this is my dream job,” he said of his new opportunity.
Schaefer started his career in 1974 as a cadet in his hometown at the City of Cypress. After working his way up to a lieutenant there, he became a captain in the Seal Beach Police Department in 1998.
He then served as the chief of police for the City of Placentia for two-and-a-half years.
After an eight-month retirement, he was hired by the City of San Marino to be its chief of police. And the rest is now a part of San Marino’s rich history.
As the City of San Marino enters a new chapter, Schaefer offered a few words of advice to the next city manager and interim city manager, who have not yet been selected.
“Listen to the community,” he said, but “you have to be astute enough to know what to roll off your back and what to listen to.”
“The council will not pick somebody who is not dialed into the fact that San Marino is a special place,” he concluded.
Schaefer and his wife, Kaetchen, have been married for 38 years. Kaetchen works for the Fullerton Public Library. They have lived in Fullerton for 30 years and have three daughters: Tina, Gabriel and Kristen.
Tina is a customer services manager for Price Mailing House.
Gabriel is three weeks away from finishing her residency at the University of California, San Diego. A University of Chicago alum, she will start as a doctor of internal medicine at Kaiser Permanente in August.
His youngest daughter, Kristen, studied political science and Korean at the University of California, Berkeley. She is married to Wuram Jo and works in the customer service department for Kia Motors.