July 8, 2011

Former San Leandro City Manager Lee Riordan Dies

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Former San Leandro City Manager Lee Riordan
Former San Leandro City Manager LeRoy E. "Lee" Riordan died on July 2, 2011, after a brief illness. Riordan started working in San Leandro's finance department in 1952 after working as an Administrative Analyst for the US Air Force. He was appointed Assistant City Manager in 1956 and served in that position for 20 years before he was appointed City Manager in 1976 when Wes McClure retired. After ten years as City Manager, Riordan retired briefly and then served as the City Manager for Monterey from 1987 until 1991. From 1991 until 1996, Riordan served as the Advisor to the Mayor Association of Monterey County.

Elected officials and city officials who worked with Riordan had nothing but praise for him. John Jermanis, who worked under Riordan, said, "Lee was a great guy; he was highly regarded by his many friends and colleagues and will be missed." Jermanis noted that "he [Riordan] placed an emphasis on disaster training for staff" and also worked with the City Council to establish a reserve fund (later used in 1998 for the Hillside Drive landslides).

Former San Leandro Mayor Tony Santos said of Riordan, "He assisted me in learning about city budgets; I came from the private sector and did not have experience in city budgeting."

Bob Glaze, the former Councilmember for District 4, said, "He was strong but could sit down and help to bring people to consensus. His "can do" attitude was instrumental in the return of the Cherry festival, cherry tree plantings, the cherry symbol of the street signs and the celebration of the city and the people."

Former Mayor Shelia Young said she will "remember him as someone who had a passion for San Leandro and lived it."

Riordan was City Manager when Proposition 13 was passed and when recession drove interest rates to all-time highs. Financing became so prohibitive that a planned multi-story shopping center with underground parking could not be completed, but was salvaged in a public-private deal resulting in the large parking lot and single story buildings known as Washington Plaza Shopping Center.

Projects started while Riordan was City Manager include the Greenhouse Market Place, Parkside apartments, and Marina Square shopping center (formerly Pacific High School). The Marina Inn and the original Tony Lema 18-hole golf course were completed under Riordan's tenure.

After his second retirement, Riordan served as a Range Rider from 1997 until 2003, making "the counsel, experience and support of respected retired City Managers available to active local government Managers and Administrators."

Riordan served as the President of the Municipal Management Association of Northern California in the 1950s and was a member of the Board of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA).

Mayor Stephen Cassidy adjourned the July 5, 2011, meeting of the City Council in memory of Riordan and flags will be flown at half-staff at City facilities for one week. No information about funeral services was available.

Update: Corrected to eliminate Blue Dolphin as construction began in 1965, prior to Riordan's tenure as City Manager.

Posted by Mike Katz-Lacabe at July 8, 2011 1:59 PM | TrackBack
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