Sunnyvale City Hall, a 4-floor window mostly covered in glass windows with large solar panels on top
Sunnyvale is going out to bid for a better management system and mobile app for residents to report issues. Photo by B. Sakura Cannestra.

Sunnyvale’s top administrator is retiring after seven years on the job.

City Manager Kent Steffens will step down in June, according to a Wednesday news release. He led the city in completing recent projects including the new City Hall and kickstarting plans to rebuild the city’s wastewater treatment plant. The city will begin looking for Steffens’ replacement in the spring.

“It’s been such an honor to work beside our dedicated employees and City Council as we’ve steered through challenges and achieved many successes,” Steffens said.

Headshot of Kent Steffens
Sunnyvale City Manager Kent Steffens is retiring after about seven years in the role. Photo courtesy of Sunnyvale.

Steffens worked in the city for about seven years prior to being appointed in 2018 as city manager. He was assistant city manager prior to the promotion and before than he was director of public works.

He did not respond to a request for comment.

Officials who worked with Steffens said Sunnyvale has benefited from his knowledge and leadership. Councilmember Russ Melton said he appreciated the city manager’s candidness when talking with councilmembers about what is and isn’t possible for the city to accomplish, citing conversations at a recent city meeting regarding the ride-share service Silicon Valley Hopper.

As an example of Steffens’ leadership, Mayor Larry Klein highlighted the multi-phase plan to renovate Sunnyvale’s civic center.

“Kent has been a steady hand at the wheel for a city, whatever the issues might be,” Klein told San José Spotlight. “He’s shown real leadership and gave great advice, and we didn’t always see eye to eye, but being the chief administrator for a city is making sure that the city continues to go in the right direction.”

Klein said it was Steffens’ idea for the city to help pay for the Sunnyvale Community Services mortgage, which will allow the nonprofit to spend more money and resources supporting low income families in the city. He said strengthening this partnership is mutually beneficial, because the nonprofit provides services that help residents.

While officials have yet to start searching for a replacement, Sunnyvale is working to fill another vacancy following the retirement of City Attorney John Nagel in January. Multiple officials said it just happened to aligned that both Nagel and Steffens have had long careers in public service and reached a point where they wanted to retire. Steffens has worked in public service for about 40 years across multiple cities, including a handful in the Bay Area such as Menlo Park, Palo Alto and Foster City.

Councilmember Richard Mehlinger told San José Spotlight he’s confident Nagel and Steffens have built strong teams to help support the city after their retirements. Councilmember Alysa Cisneros said their retirements speak to the city’s stability.

“These were some of the most dedicated public servants that I have ever met, who both genuinely cared deeply about this community, and it showed every day,” Cisneros told San José Spotlight. “It will be very difficult to find anyone to fill their shoes.”

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

Comment Policy (updated 5/10/2023): Readers are required to log in through a social media or email platform to confirm authenticity. We reserve the right to delete comments or ban users who engage in personal attacks, hate speech, excess profanity or make verifiably false statements. Comments are moderated and approved by admin.

Leave a Reply