Wilma Quan-Schecter will be Fresno’s next city manager.
Quan-Schecter currently serves as assistant city manager. She will replace Bruce Rudd as Fresno’s chief administrative officer on July 10.
Mayor Lee Brand made the announcement Thursday afternoon at a news conference in front of City Hall’s Council Chamber.
“This is a special day for the city of Fresno, and for me it’s a bittersweet moment,” Brand said. “On one hand I get the opportunity to introduce an amazing new city manager. On the other hand I’m losing one of the most capable managers in the country – my friend, Bruce Rudd.”
Dozens of city employees were there. Brand’s generous comment sparked enthusiastic applause.
Brand said a national search for Rudd’s replacement attracted more than 20 applications. The Mayor interviewed the top five candidates.
“One candidate stood out ahead of all the other candidates,” Brand said. “It is with great pleasure today that I announce that I have chosen Wilma Quan-Schecter as the new city manager of Fresno.”
The applause volume went up a couple of notches.
Brand said Quan-Schecter is a proven leader. He said he recognized her excellence during his eight years as a City Council member.
“She has always excelled. She always stood out,” Brand said. “She is an effective communicator. She’s built strong relationships with everyone she comes in contact with. She has the ability and the energy to implement my vision for Fresno for the next eight years. And she’s going to be the first female city manager in Fresno’s history.”
That last line drew cheers as well as applause.
Brand said Rudd would stick around City Hall for a considerable period after July 10 to help with the transition.
With that, the Mayor turned the microphone over to Quan-Schecter. She came to City Hall in 2009 when Ashley Swearengin succeeded Alan Autry as mayor. Quan-Schecter was a key player on Swearengin’s Downtown revitalization team.
“I am very thankful and humbled to be standing before you today and along side the Mayor for this announcement,” Quan-Schecter said. “I am so grateful to have the opportunity to serve this community and the Mayor as the next city manager for the city of Fresno. I am very fortunate because the work I do is my passion. And when your passion and your career collide, it is one of the most rewarding feelings in the world.”
Quan-Schecter said she grew up in Pennsylvania and was the first person from her family to graduate from high school. She earned an undergraduate degree from Penn State and a graduate degree (business administration) from Fresno State. She has lived and worked in Fresno for more than 20 years.
“My focus is on the 3,800 employees of the city of Fresno, and of course the 520,000 people who make up the vibrant and diverse fabric of this city,” Quan-Schecter said. “That is my concentration today, and I can promise you it will be my direction every day as city manager.”
A long line of department heads – Controller Mike Lima anchoring one end, Public Works Director Scott Mozier the other – stood behind Quan-Schecter.
“We have a lot of hard work ahead to efficiently and effectively serve the people of Fresno. And I can’t think of a better team to do it with,” she said.
Quan-Schecter thanked Swearengin, Rudd, former Planning Director Nick Yovino, husband David Schecter, sons Henry and Charles, and Brand.
“I’m so thankful for this opportunity,” Quan-Schecter said to the Mayor. “I told you that I would not let you or the people of Fresno down. Thank you for allowing me to serve the community in this new role.”
In conclusion, Quan-Schecter said: “As I said, we’ve got a lot of work to do, so let’s get back at it.”
More applause – Quan-Schecter will begin her job with strong support among her fellow city employees.
Rudd said he wishes Quan-Schecter nothing but success.
“She has clearly demonstrated that she’s ready to lead this team,” Rudd said. “Wilma is an extremely hard worker. She’s bright and energetic…. More importantly, she’s always willing to take on new challenges.”