Woman and man, both in suits, standing and conversing in front of staircase
The Sunnyvale City Council unanimously appointed Rebecca Moon as the new city attorney and Tim Kirby as interim city manager. Photo by B. Sakura Cannestra.

Two long-tenured Sunnyvale officials are moving up the ranks of local government.

The Sunnyvale City Council permanently appointed Rebecca Moon as city attorney at its Tuesday meeting. Councilmembers also appointed Finance Director Tim Kirby as interim city manager, to take over after Kent Steffens retires this summer, while searching for a permanent hire.

Moon has been interim city attorney since John Nagel retired in January and previously worked 23 years in the city attorney’s office. She officially starts on May 12, with a starting salary of $293,000. Throughout her tenure, Moon said she’s advised every department in some way, which gives her a strong vantage point for the job.

“I’ve been in the city attorney’s office since 2001, so I’m very familiar with all the departments. I’ve worked very closely with city staff and directors,” Moon told San José Spotlight. “I feel good about it.”

During her time as a senior assistant city attorney, Moon helped navigate the city through redeveloping the downtown. In the early 2000s, a two-floor mall dominated much of the downtown, though it sat mostly vacant for years as the city and developers worked out their legal issues.

She served as the attorney advising the Sunnyvale Planning Commission, which she said gave her public meeting experience. Planning Commission Chair Martin Pyne said at the meeting that Moon was “an absolute pleasure to work with” and praised council’s decision in appointing her.

Multiple councilmembers voiced their support for Moon. Councilmember Alysa Cisneros said she was especially impressed by the respect Moon has among her peers and her commitment to the city as a whole. Councilmember Russ Melton, who met Moon when he sat on the planning commission, said she has strong legal intellect and expertise.

“John Nagel left big shoes to fill as our former city attorney, and Rebecca’s absolutely the candidate to step in,” Melton said. “We know that she will excel.”

Kirby has held a variety of roles in the city’s government since 1997, most recently as finance director for the past eight years. He takes over on June 30, with a starting salary of $383,259.

“I’ve been with the city for a long time and as a result, I have relationships up and down the organizations,” Kirby told San José Spotlight. “When you work in finance, you are exposed to all of the services that city provides (and) work with all of the staff.”

Sunnyvale is undergoing its budget evaluation and approvals, so Kirby is preparing the city’s 2024-25 budget. In previous years, Kirby has helped the city prepare for fiscal undertakings of many sizes, from acquiring electric vehicles to helping finance the civic center overhaul.

One project he’s most proud of was teaming up with local nonprofit Sunnyvale Community Services to start an assistance program for residents who struggle to pay their utility bills.

Councilmembers echoed their support of Kirby, but emphasized they’re still searching for a permanent city manager. Councilmember Omar Din reiterated that Kirby’s appointment is not “a predetermination,” but that he’s looking forward to working with Kirby in the interim.

“Sunnyvale is very fortunate to have exceptional employees like Tim Kirby, who really provided excellent service for many years,” Mayor Larry Klein said.

Contact B. Sakura Cannestra at [email protected] or @SakuCannestra on X, formerly known as Twitter. 

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